PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sea Hare 

Aplysia juliana (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Anaspidea group detail.
Sea hares usually have a narrower head end with forward projecting oral tentacles and dorsally directed rhinophores shaped rather like rabbit's ears. The visceral mass makes up the bulky posterior part of the animal, behind which extends a short or long tail. In the family Aplysiidae, the shell is either absent, or reduced and internal, sitting over the visceral mass. Animal head with oral tentacles and rhinophores, body with parapodia along each side, often with defensive purple gland associated with mantle cavity.

Source: Burn, R. (2006) A checklist and bibliography of the Opisthobranchia (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Victoria and the Bass Strait area, south-eastern Australia. Museum Victoria Science Reports 10: 1-42.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Mollusca
Subphylum:
Conchifera
Superclass:
Visceroconcha
Class:
Gastropoda
Subclass:
Orthogastropoda
Superorder:
Heterobranchia
Order:
Opisthobranchia
Suborder:
Anaspidea
Family:
Aplysiidae
Genus:
Aplysia
Species:
juliana

General Description

Body shape slug-like with gill structures internal. Pattern includes shades or colours of grey, brown and/or green. Animal up to 20 cm long.

Biology

This species is in the same genus as the largest known opisthobranch, Aplysia vaccaria, which grows up to 90 cm long, weighs up to 14 kg and lives in Californian waters. Additional species of sea hares occur in the Bass Strait area, but some of their identities have yet to be confirmed.

Habitat

Tidal pools and seagrass beds, to depth of 20 m.

Coastal shores

Reefs

Distribution guide

Tropical and temperate oceans, including Australia.

Species Group

Nudibranchs and allies Sea hares

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

20 cm

Diet

Herbivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Burn, R.

Robert Burn is an Honorary Associate at Museum Victoria with expertise in Molluscs.

Author

article author Wilson, R.

Robin Wilson is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Burn, R. & Wilson, R., 2011, Sea Hare, Aplysia juliana, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/4870

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