The Design of Mass Spawning

The Design of Mass Spawning
California Grunion Leuresthes tenuis

In Alaska, female moose have their calves at about the same time, so carnivores can’t eat them all, allowing enough survivors to maintain a healthy population. Many other animal species reproduce at the same time to overwhelm their predators. We see this survival method in the design of mass spawning of defenseless marine animals.

Palolo worms are an example of mass spawning. They live in tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean, including Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and some islands of the Philippines. These worms spend their lives hiding in the crevices and cavities of coral reefs. An interesting event takes place in Samoa seven days after the first full moon in October. The heads of the palolo worms remain in the coral reef, but their tails break off and swim to the surface by the millions. Those tails are filled with sperm and egg cells that are released into the ocean.

Because there are literally millions of palolo tails, and the release of sperm and eggs happens so quickly, the survival rate is very high. Other marine animals feast on them, and Samoans gather them using nets and buckets. Considering them a delicacy, the Samoans eat them raw or cooked in various dishes. Despite the consumption by humans and natural predators, there are so many palolos at once that their population survives. Their only real threat is loss of the coral reefs.

Another example of the design of mass spawning is the grunions off the coast of California and Mexico. Millions of female grunions ride a wave along the coast and lay their eggs on the beach. The next big wave brings the males who fertilize the eggs. The fertilized eggs remain in the tidal zone where sea birds and some other fish eat them, but the sheer numbers ensure the species continues.

The design of mass spawning indicates planning and coordination. Evolutionary chance models involve too many assumptions to be the best explanation. God has provided many systems that allow life to survive, and it is up to humans to protect the living system for future generations.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: The Sirene Project and palolo and California grunion in Wikipedia