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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Anaspidea
Geographic sea hare
Syphonota geographica
Family Aplysiidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This chubby delicately patterned sea hare is seasonally common on our Northern shores, among seagrasses. Sometimes large numbers are seen, at other times, not at all. It is also known as Paraplysia geographica.

Features: 8-12cm. Body large, heavy and smooth. With two pairs of tentacles: one pair of oral tentacles forming flap at the front of the body. When compared with sea hares of the genus Aplysia, sea hares of the genus Syphonota have relatively small rhinophores which are close together and situated further back from the head almost between the long 'wings' or parapodia. When submerged, these wings are held high. It is said that they can swim with their parapodia.
Usually olive or yellowish greenish with tiny white spots forming patterns of stripes.

Often found half buried in the sand, but sometimes crawling in the open, especially near sunrise or at night. It lays long tangles of pink egg strings among seaweeds and seagrasses.

What does it eat? It is believed to feed on brown seaweeds, but in our observations, these animals seem more abundant during blooms of the green sea lettuce seaweed (Ulva sp.).

Changi, Jun 05

Tiny rhinophores near one another,
held between parapodia.

Laying eggs?
Changi, Jun 05

Changi, Apr 12

Thin internal shell.
Changi, Jun 07

Geographic sea hares on Singapore shores

Photos of Geogrphic sea hares for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

East Coast Park, May 16
Photo shared by Ywee Chieh on facebook.

Tuas, Mar 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Aug 11
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Swimming sea hare!
Cyrene Reef, Nov 11

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.
  • 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.
  • 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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