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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dislodged from the deep

Last Sunday's big waves washed up some of these, and they're still coming ashore.  Do you recognize this object?


I'll zoom in on one end, so you can see that there are lots of smaller objects embedded within the larger, cylindrical piece:


I found several of them on Salmon Creek Beach, so I brought a couple in for a look under the microscope.  Although it was difficult to photograph the embedded objects through the gelatinous outer layer, here's a pretty good image:


These are squid eggs in various stages of development.  In the first pictures, the embryos are very young and difficult to identify as squid (they're predominantly yolk).  But in the second cluster I looked at, the embryos appear almost ready to hatch.  I could even see their fins undulating!

Here's one more photo with the light showing the emerald green eyes and the chromatophores on the tentacles:

 
Adult squid deposit clusters of these long cylindrical egg capsules on sandy bottoms offshore (generally between 60-240 feet deep).  The young hatch after 3-5 weeks (depending on water temperatures).

In November 2012, I photographed some earlier stage squid embryos and a hatchling.  To compare today's photos with those, click here

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