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Sea Hares

Marine Life medium

31st edition of Marine Life monthly post. Marine Life post published every 19th of the month. It aims to share information about the marine life species and to promote their conservation. All images in this post are taken by Indah Susanti unless stated otherwise.

 

After seeing the nudibranch and flatworm on my previous dives, I was not surprised when seeing for the first time of the following marine species in Ambon Bay (Indonesia):

Maluku Underwater Photography

A new nudibranch species from Ambon (Indonesia)?

 

My thought at the first time seeing it, it was another species of nudibranch with eyes. Nice, finally there was a nudibranch species that has a face. But this gal was not a nudibranch. I was wrong.

Nudibranch Flabellina iodonea. A face without “eyes”.

 

It is called as Sea Hares. Yep, in another word: “Sea Bunnies”.  These animals have been called ‘Sea Hares’ since classical times because of their resemblance – at least in European species – to a sitting hare (source). Do they look like a sitting hare? – The picture of a sitting hare is available in  [here].

It is a sea hare, not a nudibranch

 

One thing that I adore is their tiny eyes. Their eyes just like Cleopatra’s eyes. It appears their eyes can only tell light from dark, so instead, they use a pair of rhinophores atop their head and a pair of oral tentacles either side of their mouth (source).

Ambon Underwater

Pretty eyes even without mascara 😉

 

They don’t jump like the bunnies or hares. The sea hares squirt out purple inks. This behavior reminds us of the octopus, but unlike the octopus who squirt and disappear, the sea hares squirt and stay. Why they squirt and stay is still a mystery to solve.

Maluku Underwater Photography

Their purple inks are toxic for other animals

 

I have seen the sea hares during my dive trips in Cape Verde and Indonesia.  Basically, the sea hares can be found in many parts of the world. They often being swept away to the beach as well, thus, beware of the sea hares as their inks are toxic and as reported in Australia, they could be deadly to dogs.

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