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Aplysiidae Family

Family Aplysiidae

The Aplysiids are commonly called “Sea Hares” due to their appearance. They are usually of bulky appearance with a great range in size, 10 – 750 mm, as adults when crawling. Their body form exhibits a distinct head with prominent oral tentacles and large, erect, grooved rhinophores.
In those genera where the shell is not lost at metamorphosis its remnant is retained as a plate over the mantle cavity internally except for a couple of species of the genus Aplysia in which a gap in the mantle leaves part of it permanently exposed. Movement is achieved by a creeping action of the foot but some aplysiids are able to swim by flapping their large parapodia.
Most are well camouflaged among their seaweed food source upon which they are gross feeders and are often observed intertidally.
When disturbed many aplysiids expel a thick cloud of ink and an unpleasant clear fluid, from separate glands, for defensive purposes.