Back to Shell Guide

Southwest Florida Shells with Emphasis on Sanibel & Captiva

By José H. Leal

Family Notarchidae

Bursatella leachii pleii

(Rang, 1828)

Ragged Sea Hare

Animal reaching 80 mm, covered with characteristic branched papillae, lacking the parapodia usually present in other sea hares, in particular those in the family Aplysiidae. Color grayish to greenish with assorted mottlings of varied colors. Bright colored eye-like spots present. The species also completely lacks a shell in the adult stage (a shell is present in the larva and juveniles). It is a circumtropical species, with a handful of subspecies distributed in the main tropical regions of the world. As with the sea hares in the family Aplysiidae, Ragged Sea Hares lay their eggs in gelatinous strands that resemble thin spaghetti. Main slug photo by Ángel Valdés, egg strands by José H. Leal.