Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/149

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137
SEA-HARES.

curiosity and reward his diligence; twining Seaworms and Star-fishes; little Medusæ, like active bells of the clearest glass; the Beroë, a tiny ball of crystal; slender, shrub-like Zoophytes; and multitudes of other creatures, all shewing forth the glory of the great Workmaster, "for whose pleasure they are and were created."[1]


Family Aplysiadæ.

(Sea-Hares.)

In such rock-pools as I have just described, or among sea-weeds growing at low water-mark, a large fleshy Mollusk may occasionally be found, with two erect tentacles somewhat resembling the ears of the hare. It is the representative, the only British one, of the family Aplysiadæ.

The most prominent characteristics of this group are the following:—The mantle is greatly developed and dilated at the sides into large flexible crests, which can be turned up, and, surrounding the back on every side, can be reflected over it. The head is distinct, and separated from the body by a neck of greater or less length; its front forms a broad lip, drawn out at the corners into a pair of flattened tentacles; another pair is carried erect on the top of the head. The gills, in the form of complicated leaflets, are placed upon the back, and are generally covered with a convex, horny, or shelly plate, irregular, and varying in shape.

The Sea-hares are vegetable feeders, and, by a curious analogy with the herbivorous Mammalia, the digestive apparatus is highly complicated. According to Professor Grant, there are three stomachs; a short narrow gullet dilates into a large

  1. Rev. iv. 11.