Dog-poisoning Sea Hares make the news

February 27, 2003
From: Bill Rudman

Here is a news item from the The Geraldton Guardian, the local newspaper in Geraldton, Western Australia. Although misidentified as 'nudibranch' and 'spanish dancer', it illustrates how concerned the local people are about the danger the beached Aplysia gigantea are to their dogs. The article and photo are republished here with the kind permission of the Editor, Charles Jenkinson.

Call to arms for more beach clean-up efforts
DOZENS of unwelcome visitors were collected by a small group of Geraldton residents in clean-up mode on Sunday. The marine creature nudibranch, also known as ‘the spanish dancer’, had washed ashore at Back Beach. Containing toxins lethal to animals, dead nudibranches on local beaches killed at least five dogs last summer and have claimed the lives of more family pets this year. The painful death two weeks ago of a friend’s faithful companion, from eating a small piece of nudibranch, prompted Judy Teakle and Sue Lennard to organise a clean-up. Seven volunteers using gloves, retrieved nudibranch corpses and placed them in plastic clean-up bags, removing almost one tonne of the creatures from the beach. 'We’ve barely made a mark on it, but at least it’s a start,' Mrs Teakle said. She hopes clean-ups can be organised on other local beaches.

Miss Lennard, a City of Geraldton councillor and co-ordinator of Geraldton Dog Rescue said she had seen too many dogs die painfully from nudibranch toxins. 'The danger is very real and it’s been known for several years, yet nothing is done about it,' she said. 'The city’s response to this situation could at best be described as ‘tardy’. Signs warning of the danger should be erected. I understand that signage options are finally being investigated, but if beaches have to be closed in the meantime, then that should be done immediately.'
The Geraldton Guardian, 19 February 2003

PHOTO: Dirty work: Sue Lennard and Judy Teakle clear nudibranch corpses from Back Beach.

Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Feb 27) Dog-poisoning Sea Hares make the news. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Aplysia gigantea

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