Keith Ball (July)
Stopping in our sea kayaks on the Anglesey coast the other day I spotted this Sea Hare
This bizarre looking mollusc has a body that encloses its shell. They get their name from the hare ear like protrusions on their body.
Also known as 'sea slugs' Sea hares are herbivores and are typically found on seaweed in shallow water. Sea hares have an extremely good sense of smell. Their color corresponds with the color of the seaweed they eat: red sea hares have been feeding on red seaweed. This camouflages them from predators.
When disturbed, a sea hare can release ink from its ink glands, providing a potent deterrent to predators. This release acts as a smoke screen, while at the same time, adversely affecting the smell sensors of their predators. In a small environment, this ink could be toxic to the inhabitants. The color of the ink is white, purple or reddish, depending on the color of the pigments in their seaweed food source. Their skin contains a similar toxin that renders sea hares largely inedible to many predators.
Some species of sea hare can reach a length of 75 cm and a weight of 2kg, that's a pretty big slug!!