Sea Hare: Phyllaplysia lafonti

Apart from settling back into grad school life, I've been trying to catch up on cataloging all of my videos from my last two-week trip to the Philippines.  It's slow going, and I decided to take a break and edit up a short video late last night on this very unusual little sea hare which I've only seen once. 

Meet Phyllaplysia lafonti (a.k.a. Petalifera lafonti by some, but I have it on authority of my friends at Nudibase that Phyllaplysia is the proper genus).   The sea hares (Anaspidea) are a big group of sea slugs that are widespread and diverse in size and color, but they are all herbivores (plant eaters).  Most of them still have a small internal shell that they retain from their shelled snail-like ancestors, and many of them can spew purple ink as a defense mechanism, much like an octopus.

This subtly pretty hare is found exclusively on Padina brown algae, to which it is well-camouflaged.  They are found in all tropical oceans.  This one was filmed at Piti, Guam, and as I mentioned I have only seen the species this one time.

 

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