Monday, March 4, 2013

Echinoderm Love

So there I was swimming along and minding my own business when I noticed what appeared to be a sea urchin, perched high on a coral head, that appeared to be smoking. Billows of white smoke rose from among its many spines. But, alas, the only fire was in the little creature's libido as this was the awesome act of echinoderm lovemaking!

Photo Copyright 2013 by Barry Fackler

The lusty devil was a collector urchin (Tripneustes gratilla)  and the "smoke " was a milky fluid containing either eggs or sperm that it was broadcasting into the water in hopes that it would meet up with the genetic material of another collector urchin and produce a new crop of prickly little invertebrates!

Photo Copyright 2013 by Barry Fackler
The yellowish thing atop the urchin is a piece of marine detritus that it "collected" during its travels. Anyway, interesting to note that, unlike humans, sea urchins smoke during sex and not after! Ha!

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