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The larval and postlarval development of the ragged sea hare, Bursalella leachii plei Rang, are described. After hatching, larval growth is rapid and veligers reach maximum size within 15 days. Competency to metamorphose is attained within 19 days posthatch, which is the shortest
larval period reported for aplysiids with planktotrophic larvae. Competent larvae can delay metamorphosis for at least 2.5 months. B. leachii plei larvae metamorphose almost exclusively on species of bluegreen algae which comprise a portion of the adult diet. Three species of blue green
algae from the Family Oscillatoriaceae–Microcoleus lyngbyaceous, Schizothrix calcicola and Porphyrosiphon notarisii–are preferred. Metamorphosis requires 1–2 days to complete. During postlarval development, the body rapidly outgrows the shell which expands as
a visorlike shield over the viscera in typical aplysiid fashion. At a body length of 2.5–3.0 mm the juvenile discards the shell. Maturity is reached 2–3 months posthatch. A comparison of the development of B. leachii plei and other aplysiids is discussed.
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