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.
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
Large tubercled ?Aplysia at Little Bay, Sydney
From: Kirsten Crosby, March 18, 2010
Aplysia extraordinaria from Nelson's Bay, New South Wales
From: Bruce Potter, June 18, 2007
Aplysia extraordinaria from nthn New Zealand
From: Rendt Gorter, March 12, 2007
Giant Sea Hare from Sydney Harbour
From: Amy Shek, March 1, 2007
Our first meeting with a sea slug
From: James Salama, August 29, 2006
Juvenile Aplysia extraordinaria from Sydney
From: Donald Miles, August 16, 2006
Aplysia gigantea / A. extraordinaria
From: Stephen Davison, October 27, 2005
Re: Aplysia extraordinaria from New Zealand
From: Julie Marshall, June 15, 2005
Aplysia extraordinaria? from Townsville
From: Adam Coxhead, August 7, 2003
Re: Sea Hare? from Stockton, NSW
From: Peter Ruxton, November 29, 2002
Sea Hare? from Stockton, New South Wales
From: Peter Ruxton, November 28, 2002
Aplysia extraordinaria? from New Zealand
From: Wade Doak , August 18, 2001
Aplysia extraordinaria from Sydney Harbour
From: Stephanie Clark, January 3, 2000
Aplysia extraordinaria - another swimmer
From: Julie Marshall, September 14, 1999