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When in florida...

You don't see these on tourism brochures

Jun 26, 2008

Black, slimy blobs are showing up by the dozens on Florida beaches. They're called Sea Hares. Biologists say they're harmless and perfectly natural this time of year.

You can see them resting along many Florida beaches after westerly winds and cold water currents wash them ashore, which is common during the summer months.

"I don't know exactly why, but my educated guess is it has to do with spawning," said Elizabeth Allred, a marine biologist with Florida Oceanographic Society. The Aplysia morio Sea Hare shows up on beaches in Bermuda and the Eastern United States, from Rhode Island to Florida and Texas.

Biologists say they feed mostly on algae and large seaweed. The bulky, round-shaped animals are dark in color and have two pairs of tentacles. One pair, located on the head, are long in shape and resemble rabbit ears, giving rise to the name sea hare.

The slow-moving animals have a one year life span and are usually active at night. Although these sea slugs spray a purple ink when disturbed, biologists say they are harmless to humans and are, in fact, helpful in medical research.

You don't see these on tourism brochures

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