Baby Slugs Already!
As always, there has been plenty to keep us busy after our return from Bonaire, but we have had a little time to look in on the Boxes of slugs. Seahorses and slugs are doing their thing in B.o.S. 1.0, but no new egg masses or babies as yet.
In Box of Slugs 2.0, the new plants have been enjoying the nutrients and growing well. Unsurprisinlgly, hair algae (looks like Derbesia) has also been spreading exuberantly. Not great for aesthetics, but good for Elysia.
One nice development was the presence of a small egg cluster that appeared by the time we were back. Age is not known, but they will presumably hatch within the week. Not collecting these guys, because the tank may be conducive to the settling and maturation of little sluglets. Why would I think that? Keep scrolling down.
When I glanced at the tank yesterday, I saw some interesting shapes, and thought “goodness me, could it be?” Indeed it was, little wiggly guys with parapodia, rhinophores and chloroplasts! There appeared to be at least half a dozen of them.
Unfortunately, I only had the Canon Powershot SX30, which is unbeatable for taking photos of wildlife from a distance, but rather poor for macro photography. Will bring the Canon G12, home from the office to get some better photos. .
A little math suggests that their eggs may have ridden in on one of the plants, rather than being deposited by the current residents. On average eggs from Box of Slugs 1.0 take about 16 days (16.7) to hatch, and then settle after another 3 – 4 days. The guys pictured above appear to be at least another week beyond that. The parents arrived on 1/5/15, and the babies were visible on 1/25, less than 3 weeks later, which seems like breakneck speed. The water temperature is a little warmer for this setup than for B.o.S. 1.0 (~25 C vs ~23 C), but it still seems a stretch for the eggs to be deposited, hatch, settle, and then grow to the point of being miniature slugs in such a short time.
Anyway, it is an exciting development, and I hope that the youngsters will avoid the hazards of tank life and grow to maturity.