Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mysterious Sea Creature - Contest Time!

Posted by Scot

This wasn't the mysterious sea creature, although he was strangely calm, and came really close to our boat.  Bonus points if you can identify this bird!
With all the snorkelling and diving we have done over the past several months, we have seen lots of sea life.  So it surprised us to see a creature we have never seen before, swimming along beside our boat in the Stock Island Marina in Key West.  It was a bizarre looking thing, undulating through the water with sinuous strokes of its single fin/wing under it’s belly.

Swimming gracefully with the use of a single fin, flipper, wing type thing under it's belly.

I did a little internet research, and came up with some information on this creature.  It is definitely a strange one.  I think it is totally fascinating. I have seen them before, but I didn’t know they could get this big. As it turns out, back when I was at UBC, I had a professor who had devoted his life to studying these guys, mainly so he could do all his research in tropical places.

Here's a hint - they come in many sizes, usually smaller than this, and are often brilliantly coloured.

Anyway, instead of just telling you all about it, I thought we could take this blog to the next level, and make it interactive.  Why don’t you take the time to see if you can figure out what this is?  Post whatever you find in the comments section below, or send it to me via Facebook or email, and I will post your comments for you.
All I’ll tell you is that it was brownish in color, and about 8 to 10 inches long.  You can’t really tell how big it is from the pictures and video.

Whoever comes up with the best answer, as judged by a panel of impartial experts (me) wins the internet for the day.  Good luck!


  1. We're voting for a Sea Hare
    Sea hares have a soft body, a small internal shell and large 'wings' or parapodia, which can be used for swimming.

    1. Thanks for the entry Diane, Evan, and Maia. I am happy to say you are the official winner! I love that you gave the whole scientific classification, and even said a bit about Sea Hares. Technically, I think the one in the pictures is a different species, though. I believe it is an Aplysia brasiliana, which is slightly different than Aplysia dactylomela. Nevertheless, your answer was the first correct one, so wins the contest. Watch for more info on Sea Hares, as well as a shout out and a small prize for you in my next post.

  2. Tom Mountain said:

    My guess for today's contest.

    I think the bird might be an immature Sandhill Crane. They are "resident" in Florida.

    Is the swimming creature a Sea Hare? Am not sure how big Sea Snails get but they seem to be generally smaller. Definitely looks like the snail family of creatures.

    1. Hi Dad,

      Thanks for your contest entry and your guesses. You are the official winner of the bonus points, as no one else entered a guess about the bird. I have no idea if you are right or not, so we are going to say you are, and call you the winner. Watch for an acknowledgement of your sagacity in the next blog post!