Body parts? No, sea hares

What are these globs that have un­set­tled Bay Area beach­go­ers? Harm­less sea hares.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Veron­ica Rocha veron­ica.rocha @latimes.com

Strange pur­ple blobs have un­set­tled beach visi­tors in the Bay Area.

Some sea life is beau­ti­ful. Think dol­phins, killer whales or the clown fish that inspired “Find­ing Nemo.”

Then there’s the sea hare. A gi­ant pur­ple slug, it has led some peo­ple who have spot­ted it on Bay Area beaches to re­port that they have found body parts, San Fran­cisco’s KPIX-TV re­ported.

A cutesy cameo in a se­quel to “The Lit­tle Mer­maid” is highly un­likely.

The globs are harm­less her­bi­vores, pre­fer­ring sea­weed over hu­mans, sci­en­tists say.

Even so, the slugs’ ap­pear­ance has been fright­en­ing to visi­tors who have spot­ted the crea­tures at Miller Knox Re­gional Park in Rich­mond, the Crab Cove in Alameda and Lake Mer­ritt in Oak­land.

They’re flat-out ugly, bas- ically.

“They’re about the size of a hu­man or­gan, and that’s al­most what they look like,” Mor­gan Dill, a nat­u­ral­ist with the East Bay Re­gional Park Dis­trict, told the TV sta­tion.

The slugs — the largest of which can weigh up to 31 pounds — do not have an outer shell and emit a slimy cloud of pur­ple ink, pos­si­bly to ward off preda­tors, ac­cord­ing to the Aquar­ium of the Pa­cific in Monterey. The ink color is a re­sult of its red al­gae diet.

Ac­cord­ing to the Con­tra Costa Times, sci­en­tists be- lieve warmer ocean tem­per­a­tures could be caus­ing the slugs to wash ashore.

The crea­tures usu­ally die af­ter they lay eggs. Cooler wa­ter of­ten de­lays spawn­ing and death.

NDN

THE SEA HARE does not have an outer shell and emits a slimy cloud of pur­ple ink, pos­si­bly to ward off preda­tors, ac­cord­ing to the Aquar­ium of the Pa­cific.

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