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How sea hare ink works

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Postby Leslie Harris » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:36 am

I had to look up some information on Aplysia yesterday. There's been some fascinating new research on exactly how sea hare ink protects them from predators that I thought was worth sharing.

Working with both Aplysia & spiny lobsters reseatchers found that the combination of purple ink and white opaline goo released simultaneously by Aplysia includes an aversive secretion, secretions which foul the lobster's mouthparts & antennae so that they start cleaning, and chemicals that smell like food. As a result the lobsters the Aplysia & either start grooming themselves or start searching for the yummy-smelling food while the sea hares get away. Components of the chemicals include hyrogen peroxide, ammonia, & several types of acids either directly manufactured by the Aplysia or converted from photosynthesis pigments contained in the red algae they eat.

In my experience the discharge doesn't bother people at all above water but I wonder - do divers ever get a sudden case of the munchies around inking sea hares? :lol:

More details at: ... 53132.html ... 9a70a91dec ... _from_food
Cheers, Leslie
So many worms, so little time
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
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Postby smb2 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:03 pm

I'm getting hungry just reading about it ! But maybe it's the Lobster.
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