Ragged Sea Hare - Bursatella leachii
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Bursatella leachii is a popular sea hare common worldwide in tropical waters. Its coloration can be highly variable but is typically tan or brown. The entire body is covered with frilly, ragged appendages that can resemble the blades of some types of macroalgaes. This sea hare goes by the common name of the Ragged Sea Hare, usually when found in the Caribbean. Some B. leachii, particularly from the Indo-Pacific, can have bright metallic blue spots on a dark brown body and are known in the aquarium trade as the Blue Spot Sea Hare or Blue Dot Sea Hare. They usually grow to between 2 to 4 inches but may grow to 6 inches in length.
The Sea Hare is an interesting addition to reef aquaria. Although there are many types of sea hares in many marine environments, most available in the aquarium trade are from tropical waters. They are green or brown, usually with darker markings that make them look like algae-covered rocks. The name "Sea Hare" comes from their vegetarian diet as well as the two fringes on their head that look like rabbit ears, especially when the animal is lifting the front of its body and looks like a rabbit sitting up on its back legs.
Sea Hares are sought after for their voracious appetites, feeding on macro and filamentous algae. They will feed on dried algaes if the live algae supply dwindles and should be fed to avoid starvation. These slugs are reef safe and will not eat corals or polyps, but their size makes them cumbersome in smaller aquariums. The Aplysia genus includes some of the larger sea hares, most of which grow to about 6-8 inches in length.
If stressed, a sea hare may release a blue-purple ink into the water. While unsightly and irritating to some sensitive organisms, the aquarium's filtration system will usually take care of removing this ink. A water change will also help remove it from the aquarium.
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|Common Name||Ragged Sea Hare|
|Scientific Name||Bursatella leachii|
|Difficulty||Easy to Moderate|
|Max Size (in inches)||6|
|Min Tank Size (in gallons)||45|
|Specific Gravity Range||1.022-1.026|
|Toxic||Yes, if stressed or eaten|
|Armed Forces Americas|
|Armed Forces Europe|
|Armed Forces Pacific|