Locals have described a strange-looking marine creature washed up on a Sydney beach to a “extraterrestrial.”
After washing up on the coast of a Sydney beach, a strange-looking water creature was compared to a ‘alien’ by residents. It has tubular eyes, which are typical in deep-sea organisms and consist of a multi-layer retina and a huge lens that allows it to detect the lightest in one direction. “Can someone tell me what this is? “I’ve seen a bunch of them washing up this week,” the Sutherland Shire resident said on Facebook, and she wasn’t alone in her curiosity.
A Sydney beachgoer observed the creature and wondered what it was.
Another resident claimed to have spotted them while walking her dog at Darood Beach in Cronulla.
“They’re all over,” she replied. “I was wondering what they were as well.”
‘A native Sydney species,’ explains the mystery creature.
The slug-like creature, which some equated to a “extraterrestrial,” confused many people. Yahoo News Australia, on the other hand, can confirm that this is not the case.
The species is a sea hare, according to Harry Masefield, Aquarist of Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. They’re also known as sea slugs, according to him.
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium aquarist Harry Masefield identified the creature as a sea hare (identical to the one depicted), commonly known as a sea slug.
“This one doesn’t appear very pleased, possibly climate change,” he added, stressing that Sydney’s recent unpredictable weather had most likely changed its living conditions.
Sea hares are dark purple or green in appearance and may grow to the size of a football. They produce a purple pigment that is comparable to that of a squid and can be exceedingly hazardous to pets.
According to Dr Lisa Kirkendall, head of aquatic biology at the Western Australian Museum, the marine mammal has a one-year life cycle and dies on the beach.
Another lady reported she saw them while strolling her dog down the sand at Cronulla’s Darook Beach. Sutherland Shire Council is the source.
There are various sea hare species, according to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium aquarist Laetitia Hannan, but this one is most likely Aplysia sydneyensis, a Sydney species.
“We really keep these guys in our rock pool for people to look at and touch because they are really exciting to touch,” she explained.
“They disguise themselves as rocks to avoid being eaten by other animals.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of black sea hares wash up on the shore near Australia’s west coast every March.
Sea hares, also known as sea slugs, are very hazardous to dogs and should be avoided by dog owners.
A word of caution to dog owners
Other Facebook commentators accurately recognized the photo as a sea hare but cautioned dog owners to “be careful” owing to the poisonous nature of the sea hare.
According to Macquarie University Professor Culum Brown, sea hares receive their toxicity from the algae they graze on.
“They’re only dangerous if you eat them, and even then only sometimes,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
“People don’t eat them, but if a dog finds one washed up on the shore, it might try. If the individual hare has been eating certain types of algae, the dog may be harmed.”