Snorkel Mosman - Sea hares and sea grass

Sea hares and seagrass

Sea hares

Sea hares often are found camouflaged amongst seagrass on the sandy ocean floor, as well as rock pools like those at Balmoral and Edwards Beach. They are commonly known as a sea slug, due to their slimey and slippery body.

These animals are hermaphrodites, reproducing in a large chain or group. Sea hares have a short life span only living on average for one year. Sea hares are herbivores, feeding on the seagrass and seaweed.

If sea hares feel threatened they will release a purple ink to deter predators.

Seagrasses

You will find patches of Strapweed (Posidonia australis), Ribbonweed or eelgrass (Zostera capricorni and Paddleweed (Halophilia ovalis) both inside and outside the swimming enclosure at Chowder Bay. Seagrasses provide a nursery area for young fish, food sources for many marine animals, improve water quality, and help reduce erosion.

Are seagrass and seaweed the same thing?

No! Seagrasses are flowering plants. Seaweed is algae.

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Information sources:

  • Davey, K. 2009. A photographic guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland Publishers, Sydney.
  • Norman, M and Reid, A. 2000. Guide to squid, cuttlefish and octopus of Australasia. The Gould League of Australia, Sydney.