Friday, May 13, 2011

Green Eggs in Jam

How about an update on the spotted salamander eggs from my vernal pool?
Back in April those eggs looked like this.
Since then they have been, well, just there...
...lying still among the branches in the vernal pool. 
 
But there has been much happening inside those eggs since I took these pictures.
For one thing, there has been an algal bloom inside those eggs. That is why the embryos are now each living in their own little green world.
  
The embryos are well developed with the feathery looking gills and the two appendages, called balancers, that hang down from near the eyes.
Spotted salamander embryos have a symbiotic relationship with the alga, oophila amblystomatis.  This salamander egg loving alga helps provide oxygen for the embryos.
 
I used a pocket Pentax waterproof digital camera for these underwater macro shots
so I could show the "way cool" without the "slimy yuck".
 The eggs are about ready to hatch.
 The salamander larvae are about to leave their little green eggs and jam (note the egg's jelly layers) to fend for themselves in the big bad vernal pool.
  
This is among the most amazing things I have ever seen!

See my other post about oophila amblystomatis.

4 comments:

  1. It is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This truly is very cool!

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  3. Just as impressive the second time 'round. I am struck by how clear the egg mass is. "Mine" were much more opaque.

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    1. Sybil,
      Yes, many of the Spotted Salamander egg massses are milky-white... sometimes just cloudy. I've seen a pool with many opaque masses and just a few clear ones... and I've seen it the other way around. The variety of colors is caused by different amounts of white crystals in the jelly.

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