Barrel Sponge Spawning August 1


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August 1, 2008 is the new moon….great for personal renewal, but even better for the annual barrel sponge spawning process. This is an ANNUAL process, it is not a monthly process and we will be out looking to see if we can capture some great photos for those who sadly can not be here. But it might be worth a quick trip to Mexico to see this unique event.

Barrel sponges are a unique animal. On our famous ‘Tortuga Reef’ we have hundreds of barrel sponges that are big and small, colourful or not, what I am going to call ‘decorated’ meaning lots of great texture, and some that are not ‘decorated’.

Photos of the male barrel sponge spawning and fema releasing eggs

This annual event is pretty spectacular, as the enclosed photos show…the smoking look is a display of the male sponge sending sperm out into the ocean, the white gucky stuff on the other photo is the female releasing her eggs. What is interesting about the barrel sponge is that they can decide whether they are the male at this time of year and release sperm, or the female to release eggs. On alternate years, they can if they are tired of being a guy…they change and if they are tired of being a woman, they change…and somehow in this maze of underwater ecology, everyone seems to choose the right ‘sex’ at the right time so that there is a good mix of male and female releases…could you image if the underwater trend was to be female and there were no males to fertilize the released eggs, and how the heck do they know who decides to be male or female, so that they actually get it right….oh the ownders of the universe, above and below water….how fasinating that there seems to not be a lack of communication and everyone gets their ‘job’ right…
The underwater world truly is an amazing place, not only in beauty but in communication..there is no internet, no phones and no ‘known’ language but they seem to always get it right….is there something that we can learn from this. My gut says yes, but hey who knows…the observations are amazing.

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