A historical summary of the distribution and diet of Australian sea hares (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia: Aplysiidae)
Nimbs, MJ, Willan, RC & Smith, SDA 2017, 'A historical summary of the distribution and diet of Australian sea hares (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia: Aplysiidae)', Zoological Studies, vol. 56, no. 35.
Recent studies have highlighted the great diversity of sea hares (Aplysiidae) in central New South Wales, but their distribution elsewhere in Australian waters has not previously been analysed. Despite the fact that they are often very abundant and occur in readily accessible coastal habitats, much of the published literature on Australian sea hares concentrates on their taxonomy. As a result, there is a paucity of information about their biology and ecology. This study, therefore, had the objective of compiling the available information on distribution and diet of aplysiids in continental Australia and its offshore island territories to identify important knowledge gaps and provide focus for future research efforts. Aplysiid diversity is highest in the subtropics on both sides of the Australian continent. Whilst animals in the genus Aplysia have the broadest diets, drawing from the three major algal groups, other aplysiids can be highly specialised, with a diet that is restricted to only one or a few species. Although the diets of some widespread, frequently-observed taxa have been investigated, those for lesser-known, endemic taxa remain unclear and require specific investigation.