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Common Name: Ragged Sea Hare

Scientific Name: Aplysia protea

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda

Order: Opisthopranchia

Family: Aplysiidae

Genus: Aplysia

Species: A. protea

The Aplysia protea, or the Sea Hare, is commonly about 3 inches long. Most Sea Hares are yellow or red and commonly look like they have fuzz on them. It is commonly the color of whatever color the food it eats is. A Sea Hare can be identified by its bright colors and they have tentacles sticking out of its head. Instead of having a thick shell, they have a thin plate because the shell would be too heavy for them to lift. Another adaptation of the Sea Hare is that it can shoot ink, which acts like a smoke screen.

 

They are both male and female. The Aplysia protea is an herbivore (plant eater) that feeds off of algae. Whenever an animal or one of its predators tries to eat it, it will secrete an ink that is supposed to act as a decoy for it to get away. They also eat eelgrass.

 

Sea Hares cannot see as we do. The way they know if a predator is coming they pump the water around them to get a sense of their environment. Some predators are octopi and other, larger Sea Hares.

 

The Sea Hare is an animal that survives through overproduction (laying many eggs knowing that only a few will survive). They lay over a thousand eggs every time they mate. Most get eaten by predators, but the few that survive contribute to a large number of Sea Hares that there are. Scientists do not know how many that there are, but they are sure the number is on a rise since so many are successfully reproducing. Some things that contribute to the change are the predators are dying out (not a good thing). The Sea Hares are also finding better places to lay their eggs so they do not get found and eaten. The Sea Hares are able to survive in many places and survive. The reason they are able to hide so well in their environment is that they blend in with their food and are able to let out an ink that is supposed to be a decoy when it is in danger. The food that they eat is so plentiful that they can survive in one area for generations. They also keep the algae population down.

 

 They are found in the bottom of the ocean near areas with algae. Something that stood out about the Sea Hare is that it can survive so easily in their environment without having to worry about being attacked and that they can reproduce so quickly. Something I learned is that they are both male and female and they can also secrete ink to get away safely from their predators.

 

Author: Estefano F

Published: 02/2008

 

Sources: www.janetsreef.com/sea hare.htmhttp:/ Publisher: Janet L. Brassard Publish 2003 Viewed Feb 7, 08 www.mbayaq.org/efc/livingspecies/default.asp?h0r==1&inhab=139 Publisher: Monterey Bay Aquarium Published 06 Viewed Feb 7, 08 www.trekearth.com/gallery/centralamerica/bahamas/photo114670.htm Publisher: Trek Earth Published in 2008 Viewed on Feb 8, 08 http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet.cfm?base=seahares Published in 1998 Viewed on Feb 8 2008 Publisher: Australian Museum Sydney

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