Grunion Run

29 May 2017

The Grunion Fish-tival was so much fun!  It was held at a smaller aquarium in San Pedro called Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.  

We made some aluminum hats to protect ourselves from the cosmic rays of the moon.  




You had to arrive by 9 pm in order to participate but the grunions wouldn't start 'running' until right after high tide at 11:05 pm.   The aquarium showed a really good movie from the 1960's that explained the whole grunion thing.


While we waited for the run we had time to explore the museum.


The Grunions:  Grunion are small sardine-size fish that are among the few species of fish that actually come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches. They are found from Southern California south to Baja California and arrive at night after the high tide around the new moon and full moon.

The grunions come ashore to lay their eggs and about 9 days later (at the next high tide) the eggs are ready to hatch.  The agitation of the water from the high tide is the signal that it's time to hatch.

We even got to hatch our own grunion eggs.  

9 day old grunion eggs.


Add some water.


Agitate.  


Voila!  Grunions.  You can see their little black eyes.  


All of our baby grunions.


Nerd is the new cool!


We weren't the only ones in foil hats.


11 pm, time for the show.  There were probably a couple hundred people participating.  We walked out to the beach with our flashlights and stood quietly in the dark waiting to see the grunions.  They would occasionally tell us to turn on our flashlights so we could see them.  But noises and light would discourage the grunions from coming to shore.

So once there were quite a few grunions on shore, they let us loose.   My pics aren't that great but it's all I got.

On the bottom of this picture right above "amy" you can see a female dug in to the sand.  The females dig their way in to the sand and then the males curl around them and fertilize the eggs.



Here are a couple of females.  The one of the left is shaking back and forth to lay her eggs.


A view down the beach.  There were so many people and as we approached the grunions they stopped coming ashore.


But what a fun experience!  We loved the whole thing.

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