Aplysia californica

Aplysia

The genus Aplysia belongs to the family Aplysiidae and is a genus of sea hares, which are a type of large sea slug. The general description of these sea hares can be found under the entry about the superfamily Aplysioidea (Sea hares)

These benthic herbivorous sea hares can become rather tall, compared with other mollusks. They graze in tidal and subtidal zones of tropical waters, mostly in the Indo-Pacific Ocean (23 species); but they can also be found in the Atlantic Ocean (12 species), with a few species occurring in the Mediterranean.

Aplysia, when threatened, releases clouds of ink to blind the attacker. Following the lead of Eric R. Kandel, the genus has been studied as a model organism by neurobiologists, because this ink release response, as studied in Aplysia californica, is mediated by electrical synapses, which allow several neurons to fire synchronously (Kandel et al., 2000). This quick neural response is necessary for a speedy reaction to danger by the animal.

Species within the genus Aplysia

This list follows the studies of Medina et al. who established a phylogenetic hypothesis for the genus Aplysia through study of the partial mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence data of ribosomal genes (rDNA).

  • Aplysia brasiliana (Rang, 1828) Mottled sea hare, sooty sea hare (junior synonym of Aplysia fasciata; different geographical populations of the same species)
    • Distribution : West-Atlantic from New Jersey to Brazil, East-Atlantic around Ghana
    • Length : up to 27 cm
    • Color : variable
  • Aplysia californica (J.G. Cooper, 1863) California sea hare, California black sea hare
    • Distribution : Northeast Pacific
  • Aplysia cedrocensis (Bartsch & Rehder, 1939)
    • Distribution : Northeast Pacific
  • Aplysia cervina (Dall & Simpson, 1901)
    • Distribution : West Atlantic
  • Aplysia cornigera Sowerby, 1869
    • Distributuion: Indian Ocean, West Pacific
  • Aplysia cronullae Eales, 1960
    • Distribution : Southwest Pacific
  • Aplysia dactylomela (Rang, 1828) Spotted sea hare
    • Distribution : Cosmopolitan; tropical and temperate seas.
    • Color : from pale gray to green to dark brown.
    • Description : large black rings on the mantle; good swimmer
  • Aplysia denisoni Smith, 1884
    • Distribution : Indian Ocean, West Pacific
  • Aplysia depilans (Gmelin, 1791)
    • Distribution : Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean.
    • Description : thin, yellow inner shell
  • Aplysia donca (Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus, 1960)
    • Distribution : North America, West-Atlantic
  • Aplysia dura Eales, 1960
    • Distribution : Southeast Atlantic, Southwest Pacific
  • Aplysia euchlora Adams in M.E.Gray, 1850
    • Distribution : Northwest Pacific
  • Aplysia extraordinaria (Allan, 1932) (possibly = Aplysia gigantea)
    • Distribution : Western Australia, New Zealand.
    • Length : more than 40 cm
  • Aplysia fasciata (Poiret, 1798) (Aplysia brasiliana Rang, 1828 is a junior synonym).
    • Distribution : East Atlantic, Mediterranean, West Africa, Red Sea
    • Length : 40 cm
    • Color : dark brown to black.
    • Description : sometimes a red border to the parapodia and oral tentacles;
  • Aplysia geographica (Adams & Reeve, 1850) (?)
    • Distribution : Western Australia.
    • Length : 60 cm
    • Color : dark brown to black
    • Description : the skin secretions are very distasteful; washed up specimens; have been implicated in the deaths of dogs
  • Aplysia gigantea Sowerby, 1869
    • Distribution : Indian Ocean, West Pacific
  • Aplysia gracilis Eales, 1960
    • Distribution : Red Sea
  • Aplysia inca d'Orbigny, 1837
    • Distribution : Southeast Pacific
  • Aplysia juliana (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832) Walking sea hare
    • Distribution: cosmopolitan, circumtropicalin all warm seas
    • Color: various, from uniform to pale brown
    • Description: no purple gland, therefore no ink secretions; posterior end of the foot can act as a sucker
  • Aplysia keraudreni Rang, 1828
    • Distribution: South Pacific
    • Length: 25 cm
    • Color: dark brown
  • Aplysia kurodai (Baba, 1937)
    • Distribution: NW Pacific
    • Length: 30 cm
    • Color: dark brown to purplish black, dotted with white spots
  • Aplysia maculata Rang, 1828
    • Distribution : Western Indian Ocean
  • Aplysia morio (A. E. Verrill, 1901) Atlantic black sea hare, Sooty Sea Hare
    • Distribution: Northwest Atlantic
    • Length: 40 cm
    • Color: black to deep brown; no spots
  • Aplysia nigra d'Orbigny, 1837
    • Distribution : Southwest Atlantic, South Pacific
  • Aplysia nigra brunnea Hutton, 1875
    • Distribution: New Zealand
    • Length: 10 cm
    • Color: dark brown
  • Aplysia oculifera (Adams & Reeve, 1850)
    • Distribution: Indian Ocean; West Pacific
    • Description: small brown eye-spots
  • Aplysia parvula (Guilding in Moerch, 1863) Pygmy sea hare
    • Distribution : worldwide in warm to temperate seas
    • Length: 6 cm
    • Color: brown to green spots
  • Aplysia pulmonica Gould, 1852
    • Distribution : West Pacific
  • Aplysia punctata (Cuvier, 1803)
    • Distribution: NE Atlantic
    • Length: 20 cm
    • Color: very variable
  • Aplysia rehderi Eales, 1960
    • Distribution : Northeast Pacific
  • Aplysia reticulata Eales, 1960
    • Distribution : Southwest Pacific
  • Aplysia reticulopoda (Beeman, 1960) Net-foot sea hare
    • Distribution : Northeast Pacific
  • Aplysia robertsi Pilsbry, 1895
    • Distribution : Northeast Pacific
  • Aplysia rudmani Bebbington, 1974
    • Distribution : Indian Ocean
  • Aplysia sagamiana (Baba, 1949)
    • Distribution: East Australia, Japan; Nortwest Pacific
  • Aplysia sibogae (Bergh, 1905) (?)(probably = Aplysia juliana)
  • Aplysia sowerbyi Pilsbry, 1895
    • Distribution : Southwest Pacific
  • Aplysia sydneyensis (Sowerby, 1869)
    • Distribution: Australia
    • Length: 15 cm
    • Description: not clearly defined
  • Aplysia tanzanensis Bebbington, 1974
    • Distribution : Indian Ocean
  • Aplysia vaccaria (Winkler, 1955) California black sea hare (possibly ?= Aplysia cedrocensis)
    • Distribution: Pacific Coast of California
    • Length: very big – up to 75 cm
    • Color: black
    • Description: no purple ink; huge internal shell
  • Aplysia willcoxi (Hellprin, 1886) (?)
  • Aplysia winneba Eales, 1957
    • Distribution : tropical East Atlantic

References

External links

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