FOUND: Giant, Eerie Hermaphroditic Sea Slugs - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: Giant, Eerie Hermaphroditic Sea Slugs


A sea hare out of water (Photo: Michael L. Baird/Wikimedia)

Earlier this week, a beach-goer in the East Bay came across something odd. It was large, brown, and gooey-looking, and she thought it might be a human liver. A park ranger showed up to investigate. But this was not a crime scene, he determined. Instead, the mysterious lump of flesh was the most beautiful sea creatures ever to be mistaken for a human organ—a California sea hare.

Sea hares are a type of giant, hermaphroditic sea slug. Really giant. As ABC News reports, ”they can reach up to 15 pounds and almost three feet in length.” On land, they look like gross blobs. But underwater, they’re actually quite elegant, if alien-looking, as in this video taken by James Frank, a naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District:

Lately, they’ve been showing up all along the East Bay, as a result of “warmer than average water,” the East Bay Regional Park District explains. And you have to forgive people for freaking out just a little bit. These creatures look like they might be the first monster of the week for the new X-files, or one of those creepy AI dreams that are still haunting the internet. Just look once again:

This is the world we live in.

Bonus finds: Bacon-flavored seaweednew species of feathered dinosaur

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.