A quick timeout from discussing ocean science and sea level rise so I can post a photo of a massive sea hare! I met this sea hare on the Catalina Above and Below trip hosted by Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on June 11th. This is my favorite trip of all time because you get to see so many different types of marine life.
During the trip, four Cabrillo staff members donned SCUBA gear for a 45 minute dive to collect a few cool critters for everyone on the boat to look at. (No animals were harmed during this process.) One dive team returned to the surface with a totally awesome giant sea hare, which is featured in the photo.
I’ve written a couple of posts on sea hares (aka sea slugs), one was a general introduction and another listing some very cool sea hare facts. But I failed to mention how humongous they can be. There are two main types of sea hares found off California’s coast, the California brown sea hare (Aplysia californica) and the California black sea hare (Aplysia vaccaria). The brown sea hare can grow to be up to 30 inches in length, but the black sea hare tops that with the largest ever measuring 39 inches in length and weighing 31 pounds. Although, Cabrillo staff said they had collected a black sea hare that weighed 35 pounds. Either way you get the picture, black sea hares are capable of becoming enormous.
The black sea hare in the photo is not a record holder as far as size, but it was still very impressive to behold. At least as big as two babies and slimy.
Can you imagine crossing paths with a 30 plus pound slug on land? Exactly, an eye-popping wow.