Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mothering is a full-time job

One of the hermit crabs that came home with me the other day was in berry, carrying her brood of eggs just inside her shell. Today, I noticed another one fanning her babies. And I think there's a third; I just caught a glimpse of pink inside the shell mouth.

One of them spent most of the day yesterday perched on the highest blade of eelgrass, periodically fanning and picking at the eggs. She has to keep them clean and oxygenated until they are ready to be released into the water. And it seemed to me that sometimes she was just getting comfortable: pulling the mass out of the shell and stretching her back legs, scratching her back against the shell interior, taking a few deep breaths, as it were, before she gave the eggs a quick brushing and pulled them back under cover. (Human females may wish they had that capability!)

Pink and greenish berries. And are those black dots eyes?

It's safer up on the eelgrass, even if she needs to hold on constantly as the grass sways in the current; the ravenous crab below would love fresh eggs for breakfast. And the oxygen levels are higher just under the surface. Growing babies need their air!

She's in a broken shell, so the white interior of the first round provides good contrast for the eggs. This may be a disadvantage in a crab-infested environment; another reason to stay out of reach.

The eggs at this stage are pink. I've seen a few mothers with blue or even purple eggs; these are mature and ready to be released. That may be a few weeks from now.

UPDATE on the baby nudibranchs: they're thriving in the other tank, congregating near the bubble stone, and growing like weeds.

Tomorrow (well, today, really) I'll be going to Chilliwack for a triple party: three kid birthdays, Easter egg hunt, and welcome home party. I'll probably be too tired to blog tomorrow night. See you Sunday!

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2 comments:

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Take it easy. We have grandkids here. It wears me out! Love your critters!

biobabbler said...

Aw... that's so sweet. =) I hope things go well w/the babies, and I'm glad to hear about the nudis. =)