Saturday, August 24, 2013

Now thats a mouthful

Egg brooding critters like fish, crabs, shrimp and more make for some very compelling photos. Taking your time with each subject will allow the photographer the opportunity to really capture some unique behaviors

   Parenting for marine animals takes specialized skill and strategy that only Mother Nature herself could have designed. Unlike humans, the expecting parents of marine animals must deal with extenuating circumstances at all times. In a risky numbers game the survival rate for individuals is extremely low and the constant threat of survival is always present for the parents and the babies.
Several factors come into play once the eggs have been fertilized that have forced the evolutionary process to provide. The most obvious first, the host parents must seek nourishment during the incubation period or risk peril from weakness and starvation. Leaving the defenseless eggs alone is never an option as they provide a tasty source of protein for other animals and therefore must be protected at all times. Additionally, during the incubation period the eggs must also be continuously aerated to ensure the proper flow of fresh water and oxygen or the eggs will die. So just how do the parents successfully protect their precious eggs while staying alive and perform all of these other vital duties? The answer is as different as the animals themselves. For instance, it’s the male that carries the eggs for common Pipefish and Seahorses while the female carries the eggs for the Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Sea Mantis males and female have both been known to share a brood of eggs and will carry or use a burrow to incubate their young.

Brooding Ringed Tail Anthia-Orange and yolky, these eggs are nice and freshly fertilized

Ring tail Anthia-These eggs are well developed at approximately 8-10 days

Fish on the other hand like the Jawfish or Cardinal fish males mouth brood their eggs until the babies begin to hatch. While other fish actually lay the eggs on a nearby rock or tunicates then tend to them in much the same way. Whatever method is used to accomplish the task, one thing is for sure, its a risky numbers game and survival of the fittest

Yellow headed Jawfish with fresh and yolky eggs

Yellow Headed Jawfish with well developed eggs
Photos were shot using my Nikon D300s-105mm macro lens and a subsee +5 Diopter

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