Green Eggs and Snails

April 10, 2018

Monterey, California

Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Snail-I-Am!

In April I did a shoot of little reef critters to create reference images for species identification trainings. After a few boring shots of algae and bryozoans, I came across a couple clusters of blue top snails (Calliostoma ligatum) and focused my lens on them to add to the invertebrate catalog. It was then that I noticed something a bit unusual... Green specks drifting from these guys... Smokey wisps emanating from a group over there... Wait, it's every single snail - this is a spawning event!

Blue top snails are broadcast spawners, meaning they reproduce by throwing their gametes out into open water - a collective spray and pray. As such it's important for all orgy participants to be on time to the party so as not to waste their precious resources. With every snail in sync releasing eggs and sperm, their timing was perfectly on point.

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