|Time zone: 100 million years|
Nudibranch or sea slug
In shallow seas
Reef algae and ocean phantoms
Reef gliders, shaped like four meter teardrops, sweep through the seas. They swim from reef to reef, carrying the reef algae’s reproductive cells as bees carry pollen. Like their ancestors they are brightly coloured, their gills flowing behind them in a train of silky fibres, like the tail of a bird of paradise.
The reef gliders head sports a pattern of bumpy, scent-detecting chemical receptors, called rhinophores. These give them an excellent sense of smell, which enable them to track down food in the water. Groups of eyes on stalks give them the ability to see in all directions.
Young reef gliders act as pollinators as they go flit amongst the algae. Reaching in to the algae cups to feed, they emerge with sticky strands of reproductive cells, which they then deposit when visiting another cup.
Adult reef gliders are carnivorous and eat meat.