Aplysia punctata

(Cuvier, 1803)

This is the common 'sea hare' of shallow waters in the North Sea. The body may reach 200 mm in overall length, olive green, brown or purplish black in colour. Young specimens are often pink or red. The body-shape is characteristically long and narrow. The parapodial lobes are widely spaced in front, but joined rather high posteriorly. The penis is broad, spatulate and devoid of spines (Aplysia punctata).
The shell is internal (covered by the mantle), up to 40 mm in length, transparent, fragile, pale amber in colour, the aperture wide, occupying nearly the whole of the ventral surface.

Swimming does not occur. If abruptly disturbed, a slimy purple secretion can be emitted. Like other aplysiids, A. punctata is herbivorous.

From Greenland, NW Europe (Norway and the Baltic to the Mediterranean Sea) and the Canaries, always in shallow waters (Distr. A. punctata).