Monday, December 1, 2008

Sea hares at Cottesloe - Aplysia oculifera

My visit to Cottesloe yesterday was fantastic. The water was not that clear and the underwater photos I took were awful. Anyway, exploring the shore during a low tide was fun as always!

My most interesting find was four sea hares (or sea slugs, Aplysia oculifera) which were either sunbathing, grazing or simply crawling around waiting for a nature blogger.

I saw the first one at this spot (1). And then, two boys who were hanging around told me about the other three, which were just "around the corner" (2). That was a wonderful surprise (!) as I thought I would just have to be contented with finding one. And when I returned to check them out later, I found them hiding themselves under the rock (3).

The first one I found. It was 12 -15 cm in length. And it looked like some kind of Chinese food (e.g. dumplings) to me.

An underwater shot - although it was just a few cm's of water.

The presence of the brown eye spots on its body tells me that is is an Aplysia oculifera - a different species from the ones I have seen before in Penguin Island, South Beach, Fremantle, and Cottesloe (1, 2).

These were the ones that the boys found and told me about. Feeling happy that I got to see them, I rewarded each of them with a close-up shot - only that I'm the one who gets to keep the photos!

The one on the right.
Lovely! Does it not look like a toy!

The one in the middle

The one on the sea lettuce (Ulva species)

And like I said, they hid up when I returned for more shots - only that they didn't really make an effort!

There were some sea anemones where they were hiding.

No idea what they were doing but it's not sex, that I am sure. I have seen them going at it. Wrestling? Maybe.


ria said...

Oh wow! Slugs always make for a great visit, especially big huggable ones!

Glad all is well on this trip, and looking forward to seeing more of your shores through your blog.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Ria,

"...big, huggable ones!" - I hope I will have such luck soon!

Ava said...

For someone who said the underwater photos were awful, the pictures you DID take surely made up for that.

cath said...

Great photos Chai!

I'm enjoying checking your site.

It is wierd I spent so much time at Cottesloe as a kid, and it's easy to take for granted if you don't take a closer look and see all the animals that are living there too!

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Cath, thanks for coming back. I just hope that you won't start feeling homesick after seeing those photos of Perth beaches.

cath said...

Hi Chai,

oops, I think I am already :)

Great photos!