Re: Sea Hare? from Stockton, NSW

November 29, 2002
From: Peter Ruxton

Dear Bill,
Thanks for your reply. When I rolled one over in the sand at the waters edge a dark purple coloured liquid was ejected. The creature I saw does look like a Sea Hare but not hairy like Bursatella leachii. They were similar in form, but not color, to the photographs at your web site of Aplysia parvula.
Peter Ruxton

Ruxton, P., 2002 (Nov 29) Re: Sea Hare? from Stockton, NSW . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Peter,
The purple ink pretty much confirms they are a Sea Hare of some sort, as most species produce a red or purple coloured ink. If they were not hairy, and sometimes swam, they are most likely to be a species we call Aplysia extraordinaria in eastern Australia. It is probably the same as a species from Western Australia we call Aplysia gigantea.

Why were they washed up in large numbers? Have a look at the page on Mass mortality for some background information on this. Dead and dying Sea Hares often cause alarm or interest in many parts of the world. Recently we have had messages from the Mediterranean about this topic, and last year a large washup of the huge A. gigantea in Western Australia resulted in the death of some pet dogs.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Nov 29). Comment on Re: Sea Hare? from Stockton, NSW by Peter Ruxton. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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