Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby, Baby, Babies... OH!

Spring is off to a slow start here in Port Townsend, but there are some new babies in our tanks which means it must be on the way... right?

Most sea stars release sperm and eggs into the water in a process called broadcast spawning. This type of spawning can be advantagous because it doesn't require much energy for the animal (after they release the gametes into the water, their energetic contribution ends; no further care is required from the spawner). The six-rayed sea star is an exception in the sea star world. Not only is it the only species of sea star that has six rays, but instead of broadcast spawning the females keep their eggs safe from predators until they are able to fend for themselves. This practice is called brooding.

Female Six-Rayed Sea Star brooding eggs

Additionally, our grunt sculpin eggs have been hatching since November. The females of this species also takes great care of their eggs by protecting them from potential predators and constantly fanning the eggs with their fins.

Grunt Sculpin babies
Keep checking our blog for new things or come visit us Friday-Sunday 12-4.

Valerie Lindborg
PTMSC Lab Coordinator

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