Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sea Hares (like the rabbit)

Well since it is Easter, or almost, I started thinking about rabbits and eggs and then sea bunnies (actually there are none).

However there are rabbitfish and... sea hares (like the rabbit, but a mollusc). Sea hares are a type of snail that have only a remnant (at most) of a shell left down between the mantle flaps on their back. So they appear to be a type of sea slug. The name "sea hare" comes from the split lip, two ear-like projections on the head that they actually smell/taste with, and their tendency to graze on meadows of seaweeds.

We find them occasionally on the reef or sometimes in our seaweed samples. The ones that eat red seaweeds can even ink, like their distant relatives octopus and squids (also molluscs).

They are a fitting symbol of spring and fertility, because they are both male and female at the same time. It only takes two - and that would be any two - to produce offspring. How tremendously efficient for a slow creature. After mating they produce strands of eggs that look a bit like ramen.

So here is to spring, sea hares and the bounty of the sea!



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