Asexual reproduction?

February 2, 2001
From: Wilson

Hi there,

About 4 months ago I purchased a Sea Hare which was later identified to be Aplysia parvula. With what little I know of them other than being hermaphrodites and to a degree algae grazers. Here's the head scratcher...

After having the sea hare for a month, I noticed a tear on the hind quarters and the tear progressed towards the head. It "disappered" and was presumed dead. Last month a small version of it appeared and I thought that the tear healed itself. Today I saw a second one cruising beside it.

The aquarium set up is a 55 gal reef set up in the Jeaubert method. No fish, just mushrooms, button polyps, Dendronepthia sp., Xenia sp., Caulerpa sp., nesseria snails, sand sifting/serpent starfish and sea cucumbers. About 100 lbs of live rock that was originally dead (dry in buckets) but "reanimated" with 10 lbs of live rock. The aquarium has been running for 3 years and the Sea Hare was the latest addition.

I've been smitten by Sea Hares and nudibranchs. Learning what I can and plan on setting up a few more tanks. Great info on this site. I'll be spending many an hour here reading.

Wilson, 2001 (Feb 2) Asexual reproduction?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Wilson,
Have a look at the Sea Hares Page for a general introduction to then and an index of other relevant pages.

Concerning asexual reproduction by breaking in two. As far as I know molluscs are a bit far along the evolutionary road to still be able to reproduce that way. What you possibly saw were two Sea hares mating. Have a look at the Sea Hares - mating chains Page and the page on Aplysia cf. parvula for photos showing mating Sea Hares. I have seen pairs of Aplysia cf. parvula mating for some days, and as one partner can be very small, you could have mistaken it for a single animal.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Feb 2). Comment on Asexual reproduction? by Wilson. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Mating chains

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