Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Marine Mollusc; the grazing sea hare

 Sea hares are snails, gastropods, with a soft bodies and an internal shell. The name sea hare was coined owing to the fact that they have erect head tentacles, rhinophores, just above the eyes that resemble rabbit ears. They are hermaphrodites having both male and female reproductive organs. They are herbivores.

Sea hares are known for their excellent sense of smell aided by oral tentacles at the front of the head and on either side of the mouth.

At the back of the sea hare's body you can see the large (parapodial) flaps. These flaps enclose the mantle cavity housing a fragile plate-like shell. 

The colour of the animal corresponds to the seaweed they graze on creating a useful camoflauge. When disturbed or distressed this large slug can release a smoke screen of ink. The skin has toxins to make them taste bad and avoid predators.

The gentle sea hares are a great 'find it' activity when visiting intertidal areas.

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