Sea Hare

Aplysia punctata

The difference in colour of this sea hare is due to its diet of seaweed or seagrass. Individuals will display colours based on the type, and colour, of vegetation they eat. This means they can be camouflaged in their habitats.

Sea hares are a member of a group called the nudibranch which also contains sea slugs. These molluscs are grazers, using their sharp toothed mouth, known as a radula, to tear up their food. The nudibranchs all have appendages known as rhinophores which stick up on the backs like ears. Instead of hearing, however, these organs are taste and smell receptors and allow food and prey to be detected.

Sea Hare. Photo credit Matt Barnes
Sea Hare. Photo credit Matt Barnes

Did you know?

The fleshy bodies of the nudibranchs can be vulnerable, so many are able to produce toxins from the food they eat as a defence against predators.

Where I am

This sea hare can be found around the coast of the UK in shallow water. They can be found on the seashore when rockpooling, as well as deeper in the seagrass meadows.