Rag­worms mate when the Moon is just right

World of Animals - - Animal Clocks -

Moon­light is an im­por­tant in­flu­ence on the re­pro­duc­tive ac­tiv­ity of ma­rine crea­tures. Rag­worms time their mat­ing with the dark­ness of the new Moon – the en­tire pop­u­la­tion be­comes ready to mul­ti­ply at the same time. Males wrig­gle to fe­male bur­rows and de­posit their ge­netic ma­te­rial ready to fer­tilise eggs hid­den be­neath the sand. The dark­ness helps cloak the worms from nearby car­ni­vores and gives the young the great­est chance of mak­ing it to adult­hood.

Many fish species spawn in huge num­bers above coral reefs un­der the full Moon, re­leas­ing mil­lions of eggs that float away in ocean cur­rents to de­velop into liv­ing lar­vae. While re­searchers are cer­tain that sea life can track the lu­nar cy­cle, we are still in the dark as to how the an­i­mals gather and process this in­for­ma­tion.

A rag­worm’s tough teeth are formed by a pro­tein rich in the amino acid his­ti­dine, the study of which could lead to new de­vel­op­ments in thefield of engi­neer­ing

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