Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spawning!

Spring is just around the corner, although it seems like it arrived in Cannon Beach back in January! Many of the inhabitants of the intertidal have been spawning this last month ensuring their species will continue to inhabit the Rock!

First up is the California Mussel (Mytilus californianus). This mussel, the only mussel in residance at Haystack Rock, can be found from Alaska to Mexico and grows to up to 10 inches long. They gather in dense beds, firmly attached to the rocks and each other,  in the mid-intertidal. The sexes are separate in mussels with each broadcasting their egg and sperm into the surrounding waters where fertilization takes place.


Spawning Male Mussel
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Habecker




Spawning Female Mussel
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Habecker

Not to be left out, the Moonglow Anemone (Anthopleura artemisia) were also spawning. Like the mussels, the species can broadcast spawn. Once fertilized, the larvae seek a suitable location to settle and then start their life as a young anemone. Unlike the mussel, anemone can also reproduce asexually, budding a new anemone with the exact DNA. The Moonglow anemone is usually found in sandy areas attached to a large shell or a rock. They can grow up to 2 inches with only the tentacles protruding above the surface.


Spawning Moonglow Anemone
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Habecker


Spawning Moonglow Anemone
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Habecker

Juvenile Ochre Stars (Pisaster ochraceus) were also seen spawning in the intertidal. This was wonderful to see after the sea-star wasting experienced all along the Pacific Coast last year. The juvenile Ochre Stars in the photo below, one in the center and another in the bottom left, are happily sharing the intertidal with other residents. Then, of course, the sea stars will eat them. But that's a story for another day!


Juvenile Stars
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Habecker

Visit our blog each week for new stories from Haystack Rock!

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