California Sea Hare Facts
- The surprising Aplysia californica, also known as the California Sea Hare, represents a rather rare species of comparatively large sea slug.
- This animal evolved as hermaphroditic, which allows them to act as both male and female during mating. Further, the species generally mate in groups of up to twenty individuals.
- It has few natural predators because its body contains natural toxins derived from the algae it consumes.
- Yet, one of the few predators immune to these toxins is the Giant Green Anemone.
California Sea Hare Physical Description
Adult California Sea Hare individuals typically attain a length of as much as 30 in (75 cm), yet most average only about half of that, however. Mature individuals usually reach about 15.5 lb (7 kg) in weight.
This rather remarkable species evolved as a herbivore and feeds primarily on red algae. Its coloring allows it to actually blend in with its food.
The average lifespan of this unusual creature typically does not extend beyond about one year.
Species: A. californica
California Sea Hare Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Scattered individuals occasionally appear along the beaches of Florida, as well, but these possibly represent the last remnants of a vanishing local population. It also inhabits the shallow ocean waters along the coastline.
The highly localized populations of California Sea Hare never live at depths greater than 66.5 ft (20 m).
When threatened by its rare predator, the creature has the ability to release ink, much like an octopus.