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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > April 2018 > SEA HARES


Susanne Masters meets the sluggish but sophisticated libertines of the mollusc world


Illustration by Alice Goodridge

In springtime sea hares (Aplysia punctata) form an orderly queue for their orgy. They are hermaphrodite – have both male and female sex organs – and deploy that characteristic in mass mating events that take the form of stacks of sea hares. At the bottom of the pile the sea hare is fertilised and at the top of the pile the sea hare is the fertiliser. But throughout the rest of the stack every sea hare is both fertilised and fertiliser. If you miss their mating spree you may see where there has been one from the strings of pink-purple spawn left on seaweed.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Our April issue is our one-year anniversary issue, and it's a cracker to get you in the mood for the start of the main outdoor swimming season. On the training front, we've got a couple of kick and pull sets to try out or a fitness and technique boost, and would look at how poor technique may not only slow you down but also be a factor in shoulder injuries. Our contributor Becky Horsbrugh relates how she became a hero for a day in Bangladesh when she swam across the Bangla Channel. Then, just in case you thought outdoor swimming was a new thing, Richard Nelsson tells us the story of two swimmers from the 1950s who went about swimming in every tarn in the Lake District, naked.