Black Sea Hare Facts
- Firstly, the truly stunning Black Sea Hare represents an extremely large species of animal known as a sea slug. For the moment, a total of roughly 3,000 recognized varieties of such creatures exist. Furthermore, this 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. Nature, it would, chose to set it apart from its brethren in more ways than one. This holds true, in part, because unlike most of its brethren, this remarkable sea slug actually does not produce ink.
- In addition, 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. While other species also do this, it approaches it from a rather unusual angle.
- This occurs due to the fact that its principle food source contains natural toxins. However, the Black Sea Hare evolved a natural immunity to such poisons. As a result of its consumption of the animals, the toxin builds up concentrations in its flesh sufficient to make it lethal to potential predators.
Black Sea Hare Physical Description
Most notably, the fabulous sea slug known as the Black Sea Hare remains a truly impressive physical specimen of its kind. That’s because this tunning creature ranks as a true giant, at least compared to species sharing its Order.
However, sexual dimorphism plays no noticeable natural role for this invertebrate. That holds true because it evolved as a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Due to this, each individual remains both male and female throughout its life.
First of all, mature individuals attain an average size of about 15 in (38 cm) in length. However, exceptional specimens do occasionally occur. Therefore, some individuals reach total lengths of as much as 39 in (99 cm).
In addition, it grows to a rather astounding weight for its kind. This holds true because 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 relatively enormous body of the Black Sea Hare generally presents a dark black in coloring. Yet, occasionally different shades sometimes 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 truly remarkable animal has an entirely herbivorous diet. However, in its case, it also has a highly specific one. It only feeds on kelp and brown seaweed, being immune to its toxins.
This fabulous and quite surprising animal also grows quite rapidly, at least in relation to its relatives. In point of fact, an average weight gain per day among individuals monitored equaled nearly an astonishing 5 grams per day.
Finally, being hermaphroditic in nature also gives the Black Sea Hare a decided edge over competing species. Due to this remarkable evolutionary trait, any two individuals can reproduce together. But sadly, its average lifespan on equals roughly one year.