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Sea Hare Swim!

One of the fun summer creatures we have seen for the last two Junes are sea hares! Sea hares are soft-bodied, marine mollusks belonging to the order Anaspidea, known for their large, rabbit-like head appendages (a big marine slug!). These herbivorous creatures, often found in shallow coastal waters, feed on algae and secrete a distinctive pinkish-purple ink as a defense mechanism.

The internet says another common name for sea hares is sea lawn mower (let’s make that catch on!!).  The two species of sea lawn mowers we’ve seen around Capers Island and the IOP Marina are the mottled sea hare and the Atlantic black sea hare. The mottled sea hare can be distinguished from the black sea hare because it is covered in spots and it is a greenish-brown color. It camouflages in nicely with sea lettuce! The black sea hare is much darker in appearance.


a close up of a mottle sea hare

Mottled sea hare munching on algae.


Atlantic black sea hare

Atlantic black sea hare eating sea lettuce.

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