Black Sea Hare Facts
- Firstly, the truly stunning Black Sea Hare represents an extremely large species of animal known as a sea slug. In fact, the creature actually forms the largest all of presently known related species.
- Yet, its superior size alone does not constitute its only difference from related creatures. This is because, unlike most of its brethren, this remarkable sea slug actually does not produce ink.
- Further, its evolved defensive measures also set it apart from similar creatures. Since it lacks ink, the invertebrate protects itself from predators by making its flesh undesirable to them.
- Its principle food source contains natural toxins, to which it has a natural immunity. This toxin builds up concentrations in its flesh sufficient to make it poisonous to would-be attackers.
Black Sea Hare Physical Description
Most notably, the fabulous Black Sea Hare is a truly impressive physical specimen of its kind. That’s because it ranks as a true giant compared to species sharing its Order.
However, sexual dimorphism plays no role for this invertebrate. That holds true because it evolved as a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Due to this, each individual is both male and female throughout its life.
Mature individuals average about 15 in (38 cm) in length, yet exceptional individuals exist. Therefore, some attain a length of up to 39 in (99 cm).
In addition, an average weight for this slug equals roughly 15 lb (6.8 kg). Yet those same exceptional specimens sometimes reach a weight of as much as 31 lb (14 kg).
Furthermore, the body generally presents a dark black, though occasionally different shades appear. And lastly, the body itself remains comparatively firm, in relation to similar animals.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Order: Heterobranchia
- Family: Aplysiidae
- Genus: Aplysia
- Species: A. vaccaria
Black Sea Hare Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the incredible Black Sea Hare has a restricted habitat range. That’s because it only inhabits the coastal waters of two areas. These consist of the coast of California, in the United States, and Baja California, Mexico.
In addition, like others of its kind, this animal has an entirely herbivorous diet. In its case, it also has a highly specific one. It only feeds on kelp and brown seaweed, being immune to its toxins.
It also grows quite rapidly, at least in relation to its relatives. An average weight gain per day among individuals monitored equaled nearly 5 grams per day.
Finally, being hermaphroditic in nature gives it a decided edge over competing species. Due to this remarkable evolutionary trait, any two individuals can reproduce together.