Tillie has been here since last summer, and I brought Mike home in April of this year. By the end of April, Tillie had laid her first batch of eggs. Nothing came of them, though. Sometime around June, I scraped them off the wall, hardened and broken, dead.
She laid two more batches, on and behind the pump at the top of the tank, where I could monitor them closely. Nothing happened; they sat there until they shrunk and died. No snails showed up. (The ones I'd found on the beach two years before had one tiny infant snail on them, so I know these should be visible when they hatch.)
The pair kept trying. They like the pump site, and have glued down three more groups of eggs there. Numbers 4 and 5 were duds, too; buttery yellow vases with nothing happening inside.
But the eggs in batch number 6 are alive, growing and moving about inside their little "jugs", and almost out of room. Any time now . . .
|Laying the second batch of eggs on the pump, in July.|
|A few eggs are visible, but they never developed beyond that stage.|
|Batch number 6, three days ago. One case is smooth and beautiful, but empty. In the others, eggs and darker snails are visible.|
When I watch these, I can see movement, but it is so slow that I wonder if it was just my imagination, or my eyes getting tired. But I go away and come back half an hour later, and the babies are in different positions.
|Day before yesterday. Compare the positions of the snails and remaining yellow eggs (or yolks?).|
|Yesterday. There are more dark snails, and they've moved about quite a bit.|
And I continue to check on them every hour or so. At the last check, one of the lower cases had a crack in the pointed tip.
While we wait, here are the propective parents:
|Mike, on sea lettuce in a bowl.|
|Tillie, stretching the surface of the water.|
Now there's a third snail, the same species, in the tank; slightly smaller, very clean. A youngster. He/she has shown great interest in the egg laying activity, hanging around an inch away, but never attempting to take part. Nor does s/he attempt to mate with either of the other two. It makes me wonder; are these snails monogamous?
So many questions!