Sea hares

Mollusca – Gastropoda

Distribution:   Gascoyne Coast Bioregion  West Coast Bioregion

Sometimes dark slimy blobs wash up onto beaches during late dry season and throughout wet season. These blobs are actually sea hares – a type of mollusc closely related to sea slugs or nudibranchs. Grazing on algae, their black, brown or purple colour (dark mottled green in some other species) acts as perfect camouflage as they slowly crawl over the seabed. Sea hares only live for about a year – dying after laying their long tangled strings of eggs.

Did you know?

Do not handle sea hares – when threatened, these molluscs may excrete colourless toxic slime from their skin and a cloud of purple ink that can irritate the eyes. Some species can even kill a dog if eaten or even mouthed!