Spotted Sea Hare

The Spotted Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomela)

The Spotted Sea Hare is a large marine slug that is relatively common in Bermuda. It grows to about 15 cm (6 inches) in length. The leathery skin is light brown, tan or olive and covered by large and small black rings and fine black lines. Sea Hares have a very thin shell inside of their bodies. If disturbed a Sea Hare will squirt violet purple ink. The ink is harmless to humans (but it will stain), but is thought to be an irritant to fish and other potential predators.

Sea Hare releasing inkThe Spotted Sea Hare can be found in tide pools along the rocky shore. It can also be found in shallow water on sandy or rocky bottoms with dense algae growth, and in seagrass beds. They feed on algae, mostly intertidal red algae.

Spotted Sea Hares are hermaphrodites, meaning they are both male and female at the same time, so they can mate with any other Sea Hare that comes along. They lay thin strings of jelly-like eggs along the rocky shore.

The Spotted Sea Hare in this video was found in a tide pool where it was using its nose (the two frilly parts on the front of its head) to search for red algae.