Absolutely Eggs-quisite

It’s Easter weekend! Clearly, that deserves an egg-themed post! I based most of this post off of National Geographic’s article: Weird Animal Question of the Week: Oddest Eggs of the Animal Kingdom. I liked this article because it talked about chicken eggs as well as the weirdos of the egg world. My parents have had a few different types of chickens, and some of my friends are also branching into the wonderous world of chickens, so I found the chicken egg part interesting. Why do chickens lay eggs of different colors? Evidently, it boils down to their DNA, but all eggs start off white. Any hue changes occur in the chicken’s oviduct. Fun fact: (In general) egg color correlates to the color of a chicken’s earlobes! What?! 1) Yes, apparently chickens have earlobes and, 2) if they are white, BAM! White eggs! Red earlobes? Brown eggs! Makes me wonder what color earlobes Easter Eggers have, but I think they are exceptions to the rule…

Egg color variations are especially evident in wild birds, partly due to the need for camouflage. As an avian technician, I came across a multitude of different bird nests (egg-amples of nests from my job and trip to Galapagos above). However, I am grateful that they were almost always in some fashion of a nest. At my parent’s house, there are a lot of killdeer, and they seem to think the driveway is the most hopping place to lay their precious cargo. To make things worse, they barely scratch together a nest, which makes it difficult to avoid stepping on the eggs. The National Geographic article mentions how tricky it can be to spot plover eggs because they camouflage so well with the sand and pebbles on the shore. I went to an Audubon meeting about plover conservation once, and the presenter showed multiple images of just how tricky it is to spot and identify plover eggs. I show the trickiest, copyright-free picture that I could find below.

PipingPloverNestPD

Piping plover nest. Eggs in the middle! I want to say it’s four eggs because the far left one could be a rock? Difficult to tell in the picture.

The article also mentions how beautiful insect eggs can be. I enjoyed looking through their link: Exquisite Castaways, where they show images of insect eggs that were taken with a scanning electron microscope. However, the main reason that I looked into all these crazy different types of eggs in the first place was because I learned about horn shark eggs. They are spiral shaped and resemble a drill bit. Unfortunately, I was unable to find much further information about these bizarre egg cases. However, the shape is thought to make it easier for females to wedge the eggs into cracks and crevices, thereby making it more difficult for predators to get to them. I also learned that shark cases are allowed to “breathe,” so oxygen/water are continuously replaced and waste is able to filter out of the egg case. Because shark egg cases (AKA mermaid purses) are kind of difficult to wrap your head around if you are only used to the idea of avian eggs, I found this VIDEO by the Monterey Bay Aquarium of a baby horn shark emerging from its egg case to give you a better idea of what a shark hatching looks like. Have a Happy Easter!

1024px-Horn_shark_egg_morro_bay

Horn shark egg case, Devra from los osos – mermaid’s purse, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index/php?curid=11508734

 

 

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