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Herring school, Sitka National Historical Park, 2016.

Herring school, Sitka National Historical Park, 2016.

 
 
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Summary

Spring in Sitka begins with the herring's return to coastal waters for a spawning frenzy. The life cycle of a herring is really a numbers game. Only a fraction of the eggs laid in the spring, which is about 20,000 per female fish, eventually grow into spawning adults themselves. If an egg survives the two weeks until hatching, the newly-hatched larva faces a harrowing 6-months of floating on the currents in the open sea where it will feed on whatever tiny nutrient particles pass by. The few that make it to the juvenile phase, which is about 1% of the original laid as eggs, will spend 2-3 years schooling with peers, eating slightly larger prey and trying not become prey themselves. Finally, the strongest and healthiest juveniles pass into adulthood and participate in the seasonal migrations stretching hundreds of miles.

date_range

Date

2016
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Source

National Parks Gallery
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Copyright info

Public Domain Dedication