Glands in sea hares secrete two compounds that protect the organism from predators by reacting together to create an unpalatable mixture of hydrogen peroxide and organic chemicals.

Sea snails and their cousins, sea hares, are extremely vulnerable creatures due to their soft bodies and limited maneuverability. To compensate for their natural disadvantages, sea hares have evolved complex chemical defenses including inks like those found in squid and octopodes. The inks are complex mixtures with remarkable properties. The secretion is composed of two viscous fluids, ink and opaline, that are produced and stored in separate s. Independently, these two substances have characteristic functions; ink is an unpalatable substance that fish avoid consuming while opaline is not. However, when combined, enzymes in ink the breakdown of s in opaline to produce new organic compounds and hydrogen peroxide, both of which are unpalatable to predatory fish and are even antimicrobial.

Last Updated August 23, 2016