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Monday, March 07, 2005

Spot the sea slug

Granny's spatial exile is by choice, mostly and has many compensations. (Not counting Beloved: who is a compensation in himself, except when using all the saucepans and leaving them unwashed.)

Over this weekend, for instance, she, Beloved and the Lady with the Big and Little Dogs went up to the town to the north of here, set in the middle of hills and surrounded by tall palm trees; coming from above it looks like an oasis; it IS an oasis. There are frogs there, which is what they have come in search of. They don't locate the frogs - they are up a hill somewhere, inaccessible. But they do find a waterfall - A WATERFALL?? on THIS dry island? Yes, a waterfall, complete with cyclist in blue lycra filling his waterbottle. And they find flowers which make even the abundant ones on Granny's land these days look sparse. And bushes of wild chrysanthemum. And a man laying into three chickens with a baseball bat. (Question, to man in hat: why are your chickens running around in that mad way?' Answer, by man in hat;'because I just killed them. No, I haven't seen any frogs round here.)

While yesterday, Sunday, after her bad morning, Granny and Beloved went down to the salt flats and found another much bigger, prettier sea cucumber, red with white spots, alongside a still amazing more amazing monster, like a huge whitish-yellowish slug with brownish spots, horns- like ears - f0ur of them, and an opening-up back which appeared to reveal its innards. A sea rabbit, in Spanish: sea hare in English (definitely an aspersion on hares) Lets settle for the Latin: Aplysia Dactylomela. Dactyl is the Greek for finger. This figures. Granny goes in search of information and comes up with this:

Appropriately referred to in the vernacular as - the Spotted Sea Hare, this species of Anaspidean has worldwide, circum-tropical distribution. One of the many species deriving the common name from the rabbit-like appearance of this sea slug, the rhinophores suggesting long ears, it is possibly the easiest of the Sea Hares to identify, having large black rings inside and out on the mantle folds.

As indicated throughout the literature all Aplysia's are herbivores. Aplysia dactylomela is common in intertidal "tidepools", and shallow waters where algal densities are greatest..

While I wouldn't recommend this species of "bunny" as an Easter gift for your child or grandchild, you must admit that those cute little eye spots give this slug that warm snuggly look. Yeah, right!!!

Yeah, right. Easter is coming up. Maybe eldest granddaughter?..

Then this:
Like all sea slugs, Sea Hares are hermaphrodites, which means they have fully functional male and female parts. During mating they can act as either the male or the female partner, and sometimes they mate in chains of three or more. When mating in chains the anterior animal acts just as a female and the most posterior animal as a male, but the ones in between act simultaneously as male and female.

How convenient Granny thinks. She decides she will not head for suggested section 'sea hare mating strategies.' Enough is enough. One sea slug snuggling. OK. Two?

Let's fly to the moon, she thinks. It's nearer.

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