A recent query by Bahamas Sport Fishing Network about the ID of this creature brought a variety of responses. Sea Hare; Sea Cow; Sea Snail; Sea Cat. Technically it is a Spotted Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomena).
Credits: Bahamas Ocean Safaris; Susan A Levine (who gave the official correct ID)
MANGROVE (“UPSIDE DOWN”) JELLYFISH
You can find out plenty more about these remarkable creatures HERE
SEA HARE SQUIRTING VIOLET INK
Bimini Marine Protected Area Campaign via Click 242 Nature
STARFISH AT CASUARINA POINT, ABACO
Kasia, a vital contributor to this blog, has supplied a number of images taken at low tide in the Casuarina Point / Cherokee Sound area on Abaco, including these excellent starfish. I’m posting them right away because starfish haven’t so far featured at all in this enterprise. Whenever I have seen them from a skiff I have been otherwise (and mostly ineffectually) engaged at the sharp end of the boat…
All images ©Kasia (c/o rollingharbour)
BAHAMAS STARFISH – 10 ESSENTIAL FACTS
- Other names include Cushioned Star and Red Cushion Sea Star
- Its invertebrate body is covered by a hard shell with raised knobbly spines
- The color of adults may be brown, orange, red, or yellow. Juveniles are mottled green (for camouflage in seagrass beds)
- Found in calm shallow waters (depths 1m – 37m), most commonly on sandy bottoms. Juveniles are usually found in seagrass beds
- Individuals can grow to 50 cm / 20″ diameter
- Adults live in dense aggregations called ‘fronts’ of 200 to 4000 individuals
- When food is scarce they can reabsorb body tissue to prevent weight loss / size decrease
- They are omnivores, feeding on micro organisms, urchins, sea cucumbers, small invertebrates, crab larvae, and sponges
- They use their ‘arms’ to rake piles of sediment and then evert the stomach, enveloping the food in its folds (don’t try this at home).
- The cushioned star is over-harvested for souvenirs and the aquarium trade, and is no longer common in areas of high human population
SEA HARES (aka SLUGS) Aplysia dactylomela
I came across this photograph online when I was looking for something else completely. As you do. I suspected some kind of sea slug which, on investigation, was right. Except that from early times these creatures have prefererred to be called Sea Hares – which is clearly more polite. The one below was found by Patti Gonsalves from CRUISE ABACO (thanks for use permission, Patti). I think I’d choose gloves to handle it too.
I had intended to include some self-taught material about these weird molluscs until I found what must be the very last word in exhaustive slug-related information at the fascinating SEA SLUG FORUM [from the Australian Museum]. It is well-worth a visit, even if you are not a slug fan, if only to admire its breadth and the model way a scientific site can be presented in an accessible way for the layman. Apart from the sea hares, I was taken with the titles of a number of articles, including Solar-powered sea slugs, Nudibranch egg masses – the direction they spiral, and (for those with Delphi Club links) Mantle flapping. And there’s plenty about land slugs too for those interested. And thus, by a hare’s breadth, you are spared my own ramblings… Photo credit ©Patti Gonsalves
To learn about Sea Hares and their defences against predators, click the link to The Abaco Scientist HERE
Ever seen a jellyfish upside down? And photographed it? Here’s one at Tilloo Cay from contributor Brigitte Carey, who says these ones are definitely to be avoided – they’re venomous and they hurt… I don’t know what exact sort it is – I’m outta here!
STOP PRESS these are MANGROVE JELLYFISH, and I have now posted about them and their little ways… CLICK HERE