Sex, sex, sex!

This is just a pretty picture. Leathesia marina, the brain algae.

Tis that time of year. A sperm layer on your windshield or tickling your nose. Eggs spewed haphazardly, and by the thousands. Pheromones flying free and making monsters of worms. Mass migrations and great congregations. As the days get longer, the nights get kinkier. It’s spring, of course. The universal season of sex.

“Hey look at that orgy behind you,” my professor says to a student, pointing to a pile of snails at her feet. There must be nearly 100 dog whelks stacked layers deep. It doesn’t look like much more than a collection of shells, but you know deep down there is some serious gastropod sex going down.

And since I have probably beaten that horse well to death, I will just show you some of the cool pictures of gonads, copulation, and offspring we’ve seen lately.

These snails aren't just hanging out. Nucella gather in large piles to exchange gametes and lay thousands of eggs in yellow, finger-like capsules.

The bright blue brood of this giant copepod will soon join the plankton bloom of San Juan surface waters.

We caught this sea lemon in the act of laying a pale yellow trumpeting egg mass.

Nudibranch egg masses come in many shapes and sizes, but maximizing surface area is a common theme.

The orange glow of a brood of eggs peaks out from under this isopod's segmented carapace.

Part of the spring plankton bloom, a hydromedusa pulses food over its oral tentacles.

This crab was gracious enough to allow a peak inside at her brilliant red gonads.

Copepod with blue brood.

Beyond that, I survived botany! We had two finals last week and I managed to make it through them without strangling myself with a Nereocystis stipe or overdosing on Dermasterias.

The sperm layer from the intro is pollen, by the way. Not some sick vandalism.

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