Devoted Deep Sea Squid Mama
Parental instincts aren’t exactly common place in the invertebrate world. Squid typically die after spawning, leaving orphaned squidlets to fend for themselves in the big bad ocean. But as in all of biology, there are exceptions.
Check out this incredible image of a mama squid tending to her (approx. 360) eggs — only the second species of brooding squid to be discovered, ever!
Man, the deep sea is cool. Cephalopods are also cool.
This paper was just published. Imagine how many more cool squid are down there.
Anemonefish eggs, all with eyes. Taken in Anilao, Philippines.
Spanish Dancer [Hexabranchus sanguineus] nudibranch eggs by Samantha Craven
A truly beautiful underwater birth…
Is there anything cuter than a Flamboyant Cuttlefish that small?
Nudibranch Eggs (possibly Hypselodoris sp.)
After their freaky hermaphroditic mutual sperm swap, both nudibranchs lay seperate egg ribbons. In most cases these are laid directly on the species food source. The shape, colour and design is often characteristic of the specific group or Family.
Most are toxic to deter predation. But then we don’t really expect any less from nudibranchs, do we?
OCALA, FL—State welfare agencies expressed outrage Monday over the discovery that a local sea turtle had “deliberately and recklessly abandoned” her six unborn children on an Ocala beach last Thursday.
“This kind of behavior is shocking and inexcusable,” said Peter Hume, director of the Florida Division of Youth and Family Services (FDYFS). “To deposit one’s own children in the sand and expect them to autonomously hatch after a two- to three-week incubation period, instinctively crawl to the ocean and immediately begin using their flippers as fully functioning transportational devices in the quest for aquatic vegetation—it boggles the mind. It’s almost unhuman.”
The eggs, which appeared “weathered and malnourished” upon discovery, have been placed in foster care. State authorities have asked the Coast Guard to help in the search for the still-unidentified mother, whom animal-behavior experts believe is still in the area.
The only known photo of the suspect, who allegedly swam off after leaving her six unborn children on a Florida beach.
Stephen Varga, a frequent beachcomber in the Ocala area, witnessed the mother’s act of gross criminal negligence. “She waddled inland along the shore, oh, 200 to 300 yards or so,” Varga said, “and I remember thinking how suspicious the whole thing looked, the way she used her hind feet to carefully dig a shallow, gourd-shaped depression in a secluded section of coast, far removed from possible predatory attacks by terns, ospreys or other sea-birds. It gave me chills.”
Varga said he considered contacting FDYFS, but decided he “didn’t want to get involved.”
The eggs were discovered by local lifeguards Sunday after one of the babies was heard using the vestigial egg-tooth on its snout to aid in the delicate process of breaking its hardened, leathery casing. A flipper-print found by police on one of the shells identified the mother as an Atlantic ridley, or lepidochelys kempi, widely regarded as the most neglectful and ill-fit species of all sea turtles.
One of the fugitive turtle’s six abandoned infants, all of whom are currently in state custody.
If caught and found guilty, the mother turtle could face up to 30 years in prison.
One adult female tern, speaking on condition of anonymity, said she was acquainted with the fugitive turtle.
“I’m very surprised she would do something like this,” the tern said. “The last time I saw her, she was already pregnant, and she seemed to be very excited about it—you know, her salt-excreting glands were working hard to ensure a fully desalinized in-vitro environment, her carapace had softened to facilitate easy cross-sand negotiation, that kind of thing.”
Monday’s incident marks the latest in a series of disturbing occurrences among Florida amphibians and reptiles. On May 4, a shingleback lizard was sentenced to six months in jail for what Broward County judge Raymond Voss called “repeated and willful indifference” toward its babies. More notoriously, last April, over 1,400 treefrog ova were eaten or fell off the branches of a Clearwater-area jonquil tree after being abandoned by their parents, who, like so many of the mothers and fathers in these cases, were no longer together.
“Sadly, there are a lot of ‘serial parents’ out there in the amphibious community who are having kids and then breaking up,” Hume said. “Themselves raised in a non-nurturing, non-family environment, they in turn are ill-equipped to provide their own eggs with a caring, stable home.”
“It’s very easy to blame the turtles’ depletion on human beings, who value their shells, hide, meat and oil,” said Hume, noting that five of the world’s six known species of sea turtles are endangered. “But the truth is, with the exception of the green sea-turtle, Chelonia mydas, the sea-turtles are dying because of a terrible erosion of family values, something that’s become rampant in our society as a whole.”
Spotted Porcelain Crab (Neopetrolisthes maculatus) with eggs
Newly hatched Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi)
Copulation in this species occurs face-to-face, with the male inserting a packet of sperm into a pouch on the underside of the female’s mantle. The female then fertilises her eggs with the sperm. The eggs are laid singly and placed by the female in crevices or ledges in coral, rock, or wood.
Freshly laid eggs are white, but slowly turn translucent with time, making the developing cuttlefish clearly visible. From birth, juvenile M. pfefferi are capable of the same camouflage patterns as adults.
So wrong, so often - A Turtle Conservation Rant
I’m going to start by acknowledging that the first nest I ever buried ^^ wasn’t deep enough by any turtle’s standards. They all hatched though, so I guess they were all ladies.
Since then, we adopted IUCN sea turtle hatchery protocols, got trained by a veritable expert, and I took over running the hatchery for a while.
In the quest for sea turtle knowledge, I’ve come across some unfortunate conservation boo-boos. Most hatcheries are run with the best intentions, but are taking actions that make their efforts redundant.
1. Keeping hatchlings for long periods of time after they’ve hatched to “give them a chance”
It’s daylight robbery. Yes they look cute and vulnerable newly hatched, and yes, we all have visions of it disappearing down a fish’s hatch, but hatchlings should be released at ASAP. They have the energy from the yolk to jettison past the reef and the predators. They have the instinct to head out to sea. They gain the knowledge of their birth beach [magnetic signature? sand chemical signature?] allowing females to carry on the millenia old tradition of returning to the beach they were born to lay their own eggs.
If you keep them, they may not fit down most fish’s gullets, but they are almost certainly going to hang out at the reef when you release them. And chances of encountering a predator that will take on the challenge are huge.
2. Releasing them straight into the water
Again, you are robbing them of the chance to orientate themselves in their surroundings. The instinct to head out to sea is natural. They will get there. Release them from the height of beach the original nest was at, even better at that location. Turtles have been around for millions of years. They were doing something right. Let them do it.
3. Allowing tourists to breathe on them
Holding a hatchling is magical. No doubt. But hold it right. From the sides of the shell so you don’t damage it’s ‘bellybutton’ where it was connected to the yolk.
Also don’t kiss it/ tell it how cute it is to its face. I’m sure you’ve brushed your teeth but who knows what bacteria we harbour that turtles are susceptible to. With so many contaminants in the water, their immune systems will be lowered. Don’t end the fight before they start it.
Seriously hatcheries. The IUCN has a manual! It’s all laid out. Use it.
Pederson’s shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni) with eggs