Aplysia extraordinaria
(Allan, 1932)

Superfamily: APLYSIOIDEA
Family: Aplysiidae


East coast of Australia. Recorded from northern New Zealand. Probably a much wider distribution under various names.


Port Stephens, New South Wales, October 1980. Many specimens, up to 120mm long. PHOTOS: Bill Rudman.

This spectacular Aplysia can grow to more than 400mm in length. It is quite common at times in some of the large bays and inlets along the New South Wales coast of eastern Australia, large numbers often washing up on the shore. It is an active swimmer, vigorously flapping its large parapodia and rhythmically flexing its body up and down. It produces clouds of reddish-purple ink when disturbed. It is possible that this species has a much wider distribution, as I remember finding an almost identical species in east Africa. The animal identified as Aplysia gigantea Sowerby, 1869 from Western Australia is almost certainly the same species. If the identification is correct then the name would have precedence over A. extraordinaria.

See the General Topics List for more information on Sea Hares.

• Allan, J.K. (1932). A new genus and species of sea-slug, and two new species of sea-hares from Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 18(6): 314-320.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (May 3) Aplysia extraordinaria (Allan, 1932). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/aplyextr

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