4 years of imprisonment inside a black egg (10 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
10 May 2024

Easter has passed, the eggs have been painted, beaten and eaten. But here’s Mother Nature’s creativity for decorating shells - it will beat all human inventions. Admire it! This is not Photoshop or even an alien embryo. This is a stingray egg, or a mermaid's wallet!

First, let's clarify: not all stingrays lay THIS. The mass production of mermaid purses is exclusively carried out by the family of diamond-shaped stingrays.

I'm looking for the mermaid who dropped her wallet. I liked it...

This is what diamond-shaped slopes look like. They look like a rhombus :)

The laying of eggs is one of their main differences from the more familiar stingrays, the stingrays. The fact is that all other rays are ovoviviparous. That is, the cubs hatch from eggs still in the mother’s stomach. But the heroes of our article and their eggs are an exception to the rule. They make such strange masonry.

So this is what a tea bag looks like if you brew it five times in a row...

If you dare to touch them, you will be surprised to notice that the shell of the egg resembles hard skin. And for good reason: the protective shell consists of collagen - the main component of the outer integument, as well as nails and hair. By the way, in some species the eggs are literally “hairy” - thin thread-like processes help the clutch to cling to the substrate.

When I rummaged through the pockets of my jacket and found something unclear.

If you are even more courageous and take the mermaid purse in your hand, you will find that it will take up almost your entire palm! The sizes depend on the species: the smallest eggs are laid by the blue dwarf stingray - they are comparable to those of a chicken. And the largest eggs belong to the large diamond-shaped stingray - their size is 15% of the total length of the female. That is, up to 30 cm in length!

Choose your Pokemon (in addition to stingrays, other cartilaginous fish also lay eggs of strange shapes: chimeras and sharks)!

What's inside? We know this thanks to experiments. In several experiments, scientists made a window in stingray eggs: they cut a hole in the shell and inserted plastic in place of the hole. The tiny stingrays developed without even suspecting that they were being closely watched.

Window to a new life.

It can be observed that the mother left these babies simply gigantic reserves of yolk, which is not surprising for such a long incubation period.

One egg develops from 1 to 7 embryos, depending on the species. The cubs take years to mature; the dense eggs of stingrays take a very long time to mature: the minimum period is 15 months, the maximum is 4 years. The birthday is adjusted by external conditions - the warmer it is, the earlier the baby stingray will be born. But some species do not want to put up with the vagaries of weather and underwater currents. They raise their babies in incubators!

Several years of imprisonment in a black cell and finally, FREEDOM!

Deep sea expedition. Geothermal spring Black Smoker. Hellish conditions: alkali, pressure and water temperature of 367 degrees. Scientists are carefully observing what they find in such an inhospitable place for life. But instead of bare slopes, they see a whole kindergarten! 157 stingray eggs are scattered on the ocean floor. Naturally, the cubs did not boil in the very center of the hot springs. Caring parents left them where the threat to life is minimal, but the temperature is much higher than the ocean average.

Eh, beggar scientists, collecting mermaids’ purses all over the ocean!

Not all diamond-shaped stingrays display such ingenuity. Most species do not steam and lay eggs in the coastal zone, where the water is warm and there are few large predators. But waves and storms mercilessly throw the masonry onto land, dooming the embryos to death and the frightened cries of vacationers walking along the beaches.

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