This little guy is the first vertebrate that can create energy for itself just like a plant!

There is a salamander which has photosynthetic cells within its own cells; making it the world’s first photosynthetic vertebrate! Prior to 2010, the ability to use photosynthesis (the process of converting sunlight directly into energy) was thought to be reserved for plants, algae, some bacteria, and some invertebrates. 

But it turns out that there’s actually a creature representing us vertebrates as well; the spotted salamander. Some think this discovery came a little later than it should have, as researchers have known for a long time that the animal’s embryos share a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae. 

A closer look at a batch of salamander embryos by scientist Ryan Kerney of Dalhousie University revealed a bright green color coming from inside their cells. The color indicated that presence of chlorophyll; the light-absorbing green pigment that makes photosynthesis possible. 

The discovery brings up the question of whether other unlikely animals are capable of the same process. Oh nature, just when we think we’ve figured you out, you pull a fast one.