Did You Know Mussels Will Squirt Their Offspring Away To Attract Fish?

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about the world around us, you discover something new. It isn’t always a new animal being discovered. Sometimes it’s just learning more about the creatures we already have found.

According to the University of Cambridge, something unique was found when British researchers were looking closer at mussels. Nobody realized that they squirt their offspring into the air, but researchers saw them doing it.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

Interestingly, mussels don’t have a brain or a head, yet they show a level of intelligence in what they are doing. It was discovered by researchers from the University of Cambridge and they were able to capture the action on film.

According to the research published in the journal Ecology, female mussels would raise their back ends above the waterline and squirt jets of water. Inside the jet is a mussel larva, and they are propelled to a new area.

After they would squirt the larva through the air, the surface of the water is disturbed. This would attract fish, and the mussel larva could attach themselves to the fish.

Photo: YouTube/Cambridge University

The researchers reported that those squirting cycles would last up to six hours at times. It also came as a surprise to researchers, who said in a press release:

“Who’d have thought that a mussel, that doesn’t even have a head or a brain, knows to move to the river margin and squirt jets of water back into the river during springtime?”

He went on to refer to it as amazing.

Photo: YouTube/Cambridge University

The species of mussels being researched do not have many host fish. They would often attach themselves to a chub or minnow. Those fish were attracted to the water jets as they fell to the surface.

Although it isn’t clear why they take part in this activity, they do think it increases the odds that larvae will attach to a beneficial host fish.

Since they are squirted into the air and not through the water, they go a greater distance.

After six of those squirts were collected from each muscle and analyzed, researchers found that there was a mussel larva in each. Up until this time, scientists thought that the mussels were expelling feces.

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