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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Anaspidea
Black-tailed sea hare
Aplysia dactylomela
Family Aplysiidae
updated May 2020
Where seen? This large sea hare is sometimes seen near reefs on our Southern shores. Often, many individuals are seen at one time and not seen again for some time. Elsewhere, it is considered among the most commonly encountered sea hares in the Indo-Pacific.

Features: 8-12cm. Body large, fleshy and smooth, said to be more leathery and firmer than other sea hares. Olive green or yellow. It is distinguished by a pattern of black smudged rings sometimes with white centres, and a network of fine black lines. It does have a black 'tail'! The inner side of the parapodia black with striking white blobs. There are two pairs of large tentacles. It is said that when disturbed, it releases purple ink.

What do they eat? Like other sea hares, they graze on seaweeds. Some accounts say they prefer red seaweeds but will feed on others if their preferred food is not available. Other accounts say they feed on green seaweed. Some of seaweeds identified as their food include Udotea, Rhinocephalus, Caulerpa, Penicillus and Halimeda.

Lazarus Island, Jun 09

A black 'tail'.

Large oral tentacles and rhinophores


Pulau Semakau South, Feb 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Egg strings laid by the sea hare.
Lazarus Island, Jan 19

Black-tailed sea hare (Aplysia dactylomela)

Black-tailed sea hare (Aplysia dactylomela)

Black-tailed sea hares on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Sentosa, Dec 18
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Cyrene Reef, Jul 14
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Cyrene Reef, Jun 16
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Cyrene Reef, Jun 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Pulau Semakau, Oct 11
Photo shared by Nicole Wong on flickr.

Pulau Jong, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.


Pulau Semakau North, Jul 15
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Links References
  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Wells, Fred E. and Clayton W. Bryce. 2000. Slugs of Western Australia: A guide to the species from the Indian to West Pacific Oceans. Western Australian Museum. 184 pp.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2001. 1001 Nudibranchs: Catalogue of Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.144pp.
  • Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach. 2010. Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications. 497pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H and Helmut Debelius. 2009. World Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN-Unterwasserachiv. 723pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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