Bursatella leachii

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Bursatella leachii
Blue Spot Sea Hare (18 cm) 1 (234970169).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Euopisthobranchia
clade Aplysiomorpha
Superfamily: Aplysioidea
Family: Aplysiidae
Genus: Bursatella
Blainville, 1817
Species: B. leachii
Binomial name
Bursatella leachii
Blainville, 1817

Bursatella leachii, common name the ragged sea hare or shaggy sea hare, is a species of large sea slug or sea hare, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Aplysiidae, the sea hares.[1]


This is a circumtropical sea hare, the only species in its genus. It occurs in the intertidal zone and down to at least 10 m[2] on coastal areas of the Indo-West Pacific oceans, the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.


A close-up detail of the head and anterior part of Bursatella leachii

Bursatella leachii is green to greenish brown. It has a broad and short head. Its mantle is covered with papillae (finger-like outgrowths), which give it a thorny aspect. The mantle has a network-like pattern with blue eyespots (ocelli) in black spots and green areas. It moves slowly on a broad foot. There is short, sharp tail. The short parapodia (fleshy, winglike outgrowths) are fused on their rear end.

The maximum recorded length is 120 mm.[3]


The species is usually found in estuaries and tidal pools, and more rarely on sandy bottoms. The minimum recorded depth for this species is 0 m; maximum recorded depth is 7 m.[3] This sea hare may be found in dense concentrations or singly. It is herbivorous. The species lays egg ribbons in long green stringy tangles.[4]


Three subspecies have been described:

  • Bursatella leachii africana
  • Bursatella leachii guineensis Bebbington, 1969
  • Bursatella leachii leachii Blainville, 1817
  • Bursatella leachii pleii Rang, 1826[5] (synonym: Notarchus pleii (Rang, 1828))
  • Bursatella leachii savigniana Audouin, 1826 (synonyms: Bursatella savigniana Audouin, 1826 (basionym); Notarchus savignyanus )


  1. ^ Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S. (2012). Bursatella leachii Blainville, 1817. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=138759 on 2012-03-31
  2. ^ ZSILAVECZ, G. 2007. Nudibranchs of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay. ISBN 0-620-38054-3
  3. ^ a b Welch J. J. (2010). "The "Island Rule" and Deep-Sea Gastropods: Re-Examining the Evidence". PLoS ONE 5(1): e8776. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008776.
  4. ^ GOSLINER, T.M. 1987. Nudibranchs of Southern Africa ISBN 0-930118-13-8
  5. ^ http://www.catalogueoflife.org accessed 25 May 2009

External links[edit]

  • SEM images of the radula can be found at Thompson; Bebbington (1973). "Scanning electron microscope studies of gastropod radulae". Malacologia. 14: 147–165.