Friday, May 27, 2011


A considerable number of beasts shroud their eggs to keep them at a distance from the nosy eyes of predators. Bitterlings do this, but they go a fascinating step further by laying their eggs in a most unusual place.

While alternate fish lay their eggs right around the rock of a stream, scatter them among fine-leaved plants, or even carry them inside their own bodies, few go as far as bitterlings. These fish lay their eggs inside another animal. The unsuspecting foster parent can do nothing about this. It cannot swim away, attack the intruding bitterling, or even protect itself. It simply has to accept its fostering duties.
Two-way Relationship
BitterlingsDuring spawning, a female bitterling develops a very long and flexible egg-laying tube, while the male changes into his most brilliant breeding colors. Once he has found a suitable freshwater mussel, the male stands watch over the mollusk and protects it in opposition to adversary male bitterlings. When a suitable female approaches, the pair hover over the mussel, constantly examining it closely to ensure it is suitable.

The female bitterlings may then “tickle” the edge of the mussel’s shell, which seems to make the mussel open slightly. As soon as the female judges that the two shells have opened enough, she inserts her egg-laying tube inside the mussel and releases some eggs. When she pulls the tube out, the male releases sperm which are sucked in by the mussel as it breathes in. This fertilizes the eggs(makes the eggs begin to develop). After spawning, the eggs develop safely inside the mussel until they are ready to hatch. Then the baby fish swim out and away.


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