Dotted sea hare (Aplysia punctata)
|Researched by||Marisa Sabatini||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||Small rosy sea hare, Common sea hare||Synonyms||-|
Aplysia punctata is usually 7 cm long but can grow to 20 cm in length. The body is long and narrow and the parapodia join rather high posteriorly. At the front of the body the anterior tentacles are short, with rounded extensions to the mouth slit while the tentacles on the head (rhinophores) are long and slender. It produces both purple and white secretions when disturbed. The mantle has a large opening (foramen) through which the internal shell may be seen. The internal shell is around 4 cm in length and is transparent and pale amber in colour.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandRecorded from various locations around the British Isles.
HabitatAplysia punctata occurs mainly in very shallow water and occasionally on the lower shore or in rock pools.
- Body colour variable ranging from olive, green, brown, red or purplish black.
- Blotches of white and grey, often with black spots and black veining along its body.
- Narrow pedal sole.
- Rarely shows its circular metapodial sucker.
- The penis is not black and is broad and spatulate with no spines.
The body colour of Aplysia punctata is said to vary with the character of its algal diet. Therefore, juveniles that feed on red algae are red, whereas the adults, which are said to migrate on shore to breed are brownish or greenish in accordance with their diet (e.g. Ulva and Fucus). It is similar to Aplysia fasciata which is larger and can reach lengths of 40 cm, it is also dark brown or black in colour. The eggs are pink and laid in tangled threads.
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OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-11-29
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Last Updated: 08/05/2008