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Egg Masses in Strange Places
 
by Cory Pittman
Usually, opisthobranchs lay eggs on or near their food. They are seldom laid on other living animals. However, occasionally egg masses are deposited in "strange" places.

The following photo shows a dorid egg mass (about 30 mm in diameter) laid on living coral (Porites evermanni). It was found at a depth of less than 1 m (3 ft) at Hekili Point, Maui on Nov. 9, 2007. From the size and form of the mass, it was almost certainly laid by one of the common sponge eating dorids.

dorid egg mass on living Porites evermanni

The next two photos show what appears to be an aeolid egg mass (perhaps laid by a Favorinus) deposited on the dorsal fin of a leaf scorpionfish, Taenianotus triacanthus. If it was laid by a Favorinus, it would normally have been deposited on or near the opisthobranch egg masses that members of that genus eat. Other aeolids that lay similar egg masses are hydroid feeders. It was found at Black Rock, Maui on April 18, 2009.

egg mas on scorpionfish

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