Sea hares

 

Aplysia punctata

 

Sea hares are commonly mistaken for sea slugs, both being soft, often seemingly shapeless blobs. However, they are actually marine snails although their shell is not visible - hence the confusion with slugs.

Their diet is seaweed and it is thought that the colour of their seaweed of choice gives them their colour - brown seaweed diet gtiving brown sea hares, green seaweeds result in greenish sea hares. It is perhaps for the same reason that I am the colour of chips... 

 

 

 

Out of water, holding fast onto a rock, sea hares can look just like seaweed.

 

 

In water, begin to form a shape.

 

It is their top tentacles which give them their name, as it is thought they look like hare's ears.

 

While we are on the subject of the sea hare's head, it is a little known fact that the sea hare's penis is on the right side of its head. Which must make it difficult to choose hats.

This sea hare was washed up in shallow waters,probably dying, They are thought to die after laying their eggs.I found her/him (they are both genders) in the spring which is very usual as they come inshore each spring to breed.

 

Sea hare eggs look like spaghetti on seaweed and vary in colour from reds and oranges through to yellow.

 

 

 

To put you off eating them, sea hares concoct and shoot out a purple toxic 'ink' when they feel threatened. One left me with telltale purple fingers after I had got too close for its comfort.