Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CA sea hare ~ 09/18/13 ~ Coast Guard Pier

There's a balcony behind the boaters' bathrooms that offers a direct downward view of the water.  It's a spot I like to check during my daily walks.  I often find interesting things there, like night herons. In past years I've only seen a sea slug here or there off in the distance.  Then, about 2 weeks ago, I started spotting a dozen or more sea slugs on the rocks and hanging on for dear life to waving giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). It's wild. What these pictures don't really show is how huge these are! I'd say the light-colored one in the first picture was at least 14 inches long.  Then that clump of sea slugs to the right of it, had an individual that probably exceeded 18 inches long.  No joke.  Notice the one on top of the clump, and how it does indeed resemble a hare?  These sea hares both fascinate me and gross me out, mainly because of their size.  I still haven't quite figured out how they're related to nudibranchs.  In any case, there's some interesting information about them, partly because they're apparently used extensively in research.  Who knew?  In addition to my usual links in the ID above, here are some more, since this is a new animal for me:
Sea Slug Forum (I'm amazed at the stuff I find online.  A sea slug forum.  Really?)
squidoo (I haven't decided if I like this format yet or not.)

ps 09/25/13 - Amazing!  The CA sea hares laid eggs!  Bright yellow masses that appear to cling to the rocks.  I'm hoping to get back there with a camera.

pss 03/06/14 - Here are a couple colorful sea slug blog posts:  Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds. and Catalogue of Organisms.