Scientists use a “love potion” to reproduce the endangered snail

The white abalone is on the verge of extinction. However, researchers in California have devised a unique method to help sea snail populations reproduce.

White seashell

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Kristin Aquilino of the University of California, Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, is a senior researcher for White seashell Breeding captivity program.

“White mussels can’t come back without our help,” he says.

The animals, which were once abundant in Southern California and the coastal waters of Mexico, have been on the US Federal List of Endangered Species since 2001. Overfishing, poor reproduction rates, and disease have hurt populations.

The Aquilino team increased their number after about ten years, during which no white mussels were made, by creating a special mixture.

Elixir of love

The researchers soaked the snails in a “chemical potion of love” for hours during the all-day procedure. A potion is a substance or substance with a unique or mysterious effect on something.

Seawater and hydrogen peroxide are in the potion of scientists. Causes the release of sperm and eggs of creatures.

Abalone Relationships

According to Aquilin: “Long-distance relationships are difficult for abalona … we put them in a truly romantic situation.”

She added that the aim of the project was to build young people “who would end up in the wild”.

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Abalone Larvae

The larvae or young abalone exceeded 25,000 in 2019, but fell to 25,000 in 2020 due to a pandemic blockage that reduced the lab to just one event per season.

However, according to Aquilin, the larvae produced at that time had one of the highest survival values ​​ever.

If the abalone cannot reproduce, another mating will take place a few weeks later.


“We want to make sure we don’t overload them,” Aquilino said. “Let’s hope that little extra time allows them to become even more efficient.”

The young abalone was packed in bags and sent to partner organizations based in California. With more rooms, these young abalons have a better chance of survival.

This work is personal for Aquilina. She met her husband as she studied the red shell as a jumping student.

Abalone pearl is also used in Aquilino’s engagement ring. At home, her daughter plays with a toy abalone farm tank. “It was an extremely important part of my personality and my family,” Aquilino said.

Life expectancy and reproduction rate of white mussels

White seashell

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The average lifespan of a white shell is 35 to 40 years. Adults in the wild reach sexual maturity at the age of four to six years.

Abalone is multiplied by the release of eggs and sperm into water in a process known as airborne transmission. This suggests that fertilization is likely to occur when the adult male and female get dirty side by side. Fertilized eggs develop into larvae that settle and mature into juveniles and adults.

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