Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jugs full of eggs

Two years ago, in April* of 2012, I brought home a clamshell that contained, under a crowded community of snails, hermits, worms, and more, a set of little brownish jug-like things. Eventually, commenters identified them, tentatively, as Murex snail egg cases, possibly trophon snails.

"Jugs" Photo from 2012.

And now, the mystery is solved! Yes, they are trophon eggs.

Remember the two-toned trophon snail that has been eating barnacles in my tank? I brought her** home a companion from our last trip to the beach; another trophon, slightly smaller.

For several days, they've been circling each other, warily, approaching then backing off. Neither showed an inclination to bury themselves in the sand, or eat another barnacle. Today, only the newcomer was visible, though, until Laurie found the other hidden behind an abalone shell in the back of the tank in the evening. She was busy; laying eggs, in a sort of grid pattern stuck to the glass.

After an hour or so, the newcomer joined her. She stuck herself to Snail #1's shell and waited until she had finished.

I rigged up some lighting, and a mirror behind the tank, and took their photo in the mirror, since I couldn't even get the camera into the small space.

More "jugs", with their bottoms glued to the glass, facing us.

Snail #1 is finished, now. She's moved to the bottom. She looks skinny, as if the shell were now too big for her. Snail #2 is twisting herself around beside the egg cases; getting ready to lay her own, maybe?

*It looks like April is the egg-laying month for these snails.

** I wrote then, "*Most snails are hermaphrodites, but these ones have separate sexes. I don't like calling a conscious critter an "it", so I've opted for calling this guy a male." I guessed wrong. She's definitely female!***

***She needs a name. I can't keep saying Snail #1, #2.

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