Friday, February 28, 2014

Creature Feature #133: Crab

There are numerous and diverse species of Crabs -colonising the ocean, the shore, rivers and even forests. They are characterised by a hard body and five pairs of limbs, the front two of which are developed into chelae (the scientists name for "pincers"). He uses these for defense and also in communication. Due to his leg articulation, it is faster and easier for him to scuttle sideways, but some crabs have been shown to walk forward. He starts life as a free-swimming larvae and undergoes several moults before achieving his adult form. During these moults his old shell softens and another forms underneath, then the old splits and he must crawl out. This is a slow and difficult process, and he may become stuck and perish. He then hides away whilst his new shell stretches and hardens. This colourful chap is known as the "Sally Lightfoot Crab".

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Creature Feature #132: Coyote

The Coyote is widespread across America, ranging from Panama in the south to Alaska in the north. He is a generalist and a survivor. Packs usually consist of small family groups - six or so individuals - with a les rigid hierarchy than wolves. Considered the wolf's "little brother" he flourishes in areas in which wolves have been eliminated. He has also been known to hybridise with domestic dogs, wolves and the critically endangered red wolf. Coyote pairs form monogamous relationships that may last several years and may adopt, or steal, pups from other pairings if the situation requires it. His diet is partly carnivorous, somewhat omnivorous and definitely opportunist. Where the urban environment encroaches on his habitat, he may roam the streets hunting cats and small dogs, or dig through garbage. Although he prefers smaller prey, he may hunt co-operatively to take down a deer, especially in winter.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creature Feature #131: Cowfish

The Cowfish is a species of Boxfish, named for her two long "horns", found in both genders. She can grow up to 50cm and makes her home in coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. A solitary bottom-feeder, she blows jets of water into the sandy floor to expose invertebrates and other tasty treats. She is a slow swimmer, and easily caught by hand wherein she emits a grunting noise. If she becomes threatened or extremely stressed, she can exude a deadly toxin - ostracitoxin - which is fatal to other Boxfish. Despite these traits and her territorial nature, she is finding popularity amongst the tropical fish trade.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Creature Feature #130: Coua

Coua are found exclusively in Madagascar and are members of the Cuckoo Family. Terrestrial in nature; she forages in  the leaf litter and foliage for berries, insects, fruit and the occasional lizard or chameleon. With nine extant species, species - like this Crested Coua - have colonised the dry forests of the west whereas other species can be found in the humid rainforests of the east. These secretive birds are usually found alone or in pairs. The name is derived from their call - "ko-a". Coua build their own nest, hiding it in a tree or bush. Chicks display a pattern on the inside of their beaks, obvious when they gape for food. These markings - resembling crudely drawn eyes and mouth - are fluorescent and make it easier for the mother to find their mouth in the darkness of their nest.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creature Feature #129: Cottontop Tamarin

The diminutive Cottontop is a New World monkey now restricted to a tiny area in northwest Colombia. He is critically endangered due to deforestation - having lost three-quaters of his original habitat. Troops consist of 2-9 individuals, of which only the dominant pair will produce offspring. Twins are frequent, and the whole troop takes care of the baby-sitting. The dominant female releases a pheromone  to suppress the sexual behaviour of subordinate females. Despite the altruism shown in the shared care, these monkeys have been shown to exhbiti spiteful behaviour, with individuals being targeted and forced from the troop.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creature Feature #128: Cottontail

The Cottontail Genus comprises of 17 species of rabbit widespread across America. They are named for their fluffy white tail - which is not found in all species - and are otherwise well camouflaged. When danger threatens, the Cottontail runs in an erratic zigzag fashion, flashing his tail. This not only warns any other rabbits that danger is about, but also can act to confuse the predator. Instead of focusing on the  main body of the bunny, it focuses instead on the white patch and as the rabbit ducks and weaves, this can appear and disappear  just as suddenly. Cottontails favour open grassy areas with decent cover. Various species have colonised the mountains, the deserts and everywhere in between. Unlike their European cousins, Cottontails do not live in warrens - they spend their days sheltering in shallow depressions under cover and come out at night to forage. Babies are born in a shallow nest -  could a "form" - no deeper than 12 cm.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Creature Feature #127: Cotinga

The Genus of birds known as "Cotinga" also fall within a Family of the same name, making writing about them a little confusing. For the purposes of this entry, I shall be dealing with the Genus Cotinga. These are Central and South American birds that live in rainforest or degraded forest areas and follow a fructivorous diet (fruit), foraging high in the canopy. There are seven species, all of which are bright - sometimes eye-watering - colours. Only the males are gaudy, the females are duller shades and speckled, which allows them camouflage as they sit on their nests. The bright blue of the male's colouration comes from the collection of air bubbles in his feathers, which scatter the light (according to wikipedia, that is). This fellow is known as a "Banded Continga".

Friday, February 21, 2014

Creature Feature #126: Coral

Each Coral is made up of thousands of tiny, genetically identical individuals called polyps. Each measures no more than a few mms in diameter and no more than a few cms in length. These polyps have feeding tentacles, a central mouth opening and a sturdy exoskeleton at their base. When combined into these mighty and colourful colonies they create a larger skeleton. Polyps can reproduce asexually, but during the full moon the various species will undergo a massive spawn, releasing their gametes into the sea for it to drift over to their related (as in same species) neighbours). Coral feed on small things that drift their way - microscopic plankton and even small fish. Like anenomes, they sting it with the tentacles and draw it down into their digestive tract. Coral reefs are under threat from mining, pollution and climate change and over 10% of the global reefs are dead.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Creature Feature #125: Coquette

No, not that kind of Coquette. This kind:

There are ten species of Coquette - a Genus of hummingbirds found in Central and South America. The largest species measures no more than 9cm, but many are considerably smaller. The Tufted Coquette measures only 6.5cm, making this  illustration larger than life. The males are gaudy with their plumes and flamboyant scarves, whilst the females are more demure in colouration. These plumes are used in territorial and courtship displays, as hummingbirds in general are very aggressive for their size. They need to be. A bird so tiny, with such a fast metabolism, requires a constant supply of rich, high energy food. This mostly takes the form of nectar, which the bird sups while hovering and fanning his wings at up to 13 times a second.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Creature Feature #124: Coquerel's Sifaka

Finally, it's time for another lemur! Although you can expect another two before we conclude this letter.

The Coquerel's Sifaka makes her home in the dry forests of north-west Madagascar. Her long and powerful legs made her a strong leaper - she is capable of jumping up to ten metres. With her legs being longer than her arms, she cannot walk on all fours and when forced to traverse the ground must do so in a series of bipedal hops, her arms and tail spread out for balance. Her name - sifaka - is derived from her warning call. Like most lemur species, Coquerel's Sifaka are matriachal, with the females leading the group and dominating the males whilst they forage. Her preferred diet is leaves, flowers and fruit and she can eat more than 100 different species. She is an important agent in seed dispersal.

Also, I have coloured her eyes wrong - they are meant to be golden or orange. Oops. Shall remedy that if I can! (thank goodness for gel pens).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Creature Feature #123: Conure

The name "Conure" is given to a number of small parakeet species found in Central and South America. They are noted for their playful and intelligent nature which has, unfortunately, made them popular amongst the pet trade. Although they do readily breed in captivity, populations of wild birds have been decimated with individuals captured and sold to aviculturalists. Once regarded "least concern"; she has now been pushed to "endangered" status and vanished from parts of her former range. In the wild, they gather in flocks of up to 30 members and inhabit coastal and open forest. Her main diet is fruit and seeds. She nests in palm cavities, laying 3-4 round, white eggs. These nests are sometimes targeted by poachers, with the chicks being stolen and hand-reared before being sold as pets.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Creature Feature #122: Condor

The Condor is a very large scavenging bird - the wingspan of this Andean Condor measuring up to 3.5 m. A member of the Family of New World Vultures, this carrion-eater is characterised by his naked heads. The lack of feathers make it easier for him to keep clean while eating. It also makes him prone to dehydration and sunburn. To communicate emotions, the Condor can actually blush. These birds are very long-lived - up to 75 years - and do not reach maturity until they are 6 or 7. He is a slow breeder, only producing one offspring every two years. The Californian Condor came very close to extinction in 1987, when all the remaining birds (22 in total) were captured for a captive breeding program. Condors are at risk from poaching and habitat destruction, as well as lead-poisoning.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Creature Feature #121: Comet Moth

The Comet Moth, or Madagascar Moon Moth, is one of the largest silk moths in the world. He can measure up to twenty cm across. Like many moths, he spends the majority of his life - about two months - as a caterpillar before pupating. His natural habitat is the rainforest, and the cocoon is riddled with holes to allow for drainage and prevent the pupae from drowning. Once he has hatched he is incapable of eating, and will only survive for 4-5 days. His main aim is to reproduce. Female Comet Moths can lay over 120 eggs. Like many Madagascan creatures, the Comet Moth is threatened by deforestation, but he does readily reproduce in captivity.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Creature Feature #120: Colugo

The Colugo is also known as the "flying lemur" which is something of a misnomer for she is not a lemur and she does not fly. She is in fact the most sophisticated gliding mammal, with her patagium (flying membrane) extending further than that of other gliding mammals. She can glide for up to 70m without losing height. She is not, however, a very capable climbing. Her lack of opposable thumbs and relatively weak limbs mean she must claw her way along the bark in a series of short hops. She is fairly large - about 40cm in length - and mostly solitary. Her baby is born after only 60 days gestation as a tiny, undeveloped infant which clings to her belly. To protect him, she curls her tail up to form a rudimentary pouch with her patagium. He grows slowly and will not be fully mature until he is two-three years old.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Creature Feature #119: Colobus Monkey

There are a number of species of Colobus Monkey divided into two Genus. The black and white are the most well known, but the Red (Piliocolobus) species are the most colourful, as well as being the most endangered: with three of the nine species classified as "critically endangered". These "Old World" monkeys live in troops, which can have up to 80 members, with twice as many females as males and a strong social hierarchy. Adolescent monkeys often leave their natal troop to join other groups, but other groups can be suspcious and violent, thus the "teenagers" will occasionally join up with a neighbouring green monkey troop and "spy" on the group they wish to join. Aside from the usual threats of deforestation and being hunted for bush-meat, Red Colobus are also predated by chimpanzees. Studies have shown that chimpanzees are responsible for 6-12% of female/infant deaths in some areas.

An Introduction to the Writings of Angela "LemurKat" Oliver

If you have come here from the Sir Julius Vogel Awards site, and want a taste of Angela's writing: the first chapter of her Epic Lemur Saga can be read here: on DeviantArt

Angela "LemurKat" Oliver began writing for the internet back at the turn of the century, mainly dabbling in Fanfiction (which you can still read today over on with the occasion commission thrown in for good measure. After a time, however, she grew weary of playing in other people's worlds and started to realise and develop her own. Her first book, Aroha's Grand Adventure, was released in 2011, with A Midsummer Knight's Quest following a few months later.

Her latest, and well received, novel is the first in the Lemurs Saga - an epic fantasy adventure set in an alternate world Madagascar where the sentient/dominant "people" are lemurs. Whilst this may lend it some resemblance to "furry fiction", it is far less niche and is, essentially, a darker and more "grown-up" Redwall. The culture of the lemur kin - of which there are nearly 100 species - is a blend of real-world Malagasy culture, genuine lemur behavioural ecology and a healthy dose of author creativity. Although she has only visited Madagascar once, the country found its way into LemurKat's soul. She is very passionate about lemurs, and it is her hope that the passion will colour her world and capture the hearts and imaginations of her readers.

The first in the series is Fellowship of the Ringtails and it follows the birth of blue-eyed Aurelia, a silky simpona born far from her natural home. Orphaned soon after birth, she is trusted into the care of Fiantrana, a ringtailed lemur (maky) mourning the death of her own kit, and raised amongst the Vezo (fishing) tribe. Alas, the blue eyes are a mark of Aurelia's birthright - she is the illegitimate heir to the throne - and the Queen cannot permit her to live. So starts a race for her life, as Aurelia and her friends seek sanctuary to the north, facing trials and tribulations at every turn, with the sadistic Hunter Noir on their tail.

Whilst technically aimed at an adult market, it would be suitable for older children as well, although it does contain a few minor curse words (bitch/bastard) and a bit of gore. Those who have enjoyed the Redwall series (Brian Jacques), the Deptford trilogies (Robin Jarvis) and Watership Down (Richard Adams), will enjoy it.

The follow-up, Tail of Two Scions, is well underway, with a tentative release date of late 2014. It continues Aurelia's story, whilst also allowing insight into the life of her rival scion, Rakoto, the true son of the current Queen, he is not - genetically - of the royal line. An introspective youngster, plagued with self-doubt and confusion at his social status, things take a dramatic, and dark, dive for him when he becomes apprenticed to the vicious alpha Hunter. Can he withstand the darkness growing inside himself?

Also an artist, LemurKat designs her own covers and the physical format copies of her books are ridled with illustrations or lineart, with educational appendices for the reader that wants to know more.

All three of her current titles are available via Amazon: Angela Oliver's Author Page in both ebook and physical format.

A summary of her other titles:

Aroha's Grand Adventure
Follow the adventures of Aroha, a weka*, chick-napped by a small boy and translocated across the country, wherein she makes her escape and begins the long walk home. Her tale is an epic adventure - meeting with quirky characters and facing a great many threats: from malicious magpies to fiendish felines, and even the onslaught of the earth itself.
This is a fun, fast paced animal-protagonist novel, with a cheeky (and somewhat greedy) protagonist who really is a "stickybeak". It is aimed at children, but has achieved appreciation from grown-ups too.

* Native New Zealand woodhen - a flightless brown bird about the size of a chicken, noteable for its curious personality and tendency to steal things, like food and shiny objects.

A Midsummer Knight's Quest
There are technically two tales weaving together in this rather chunky contemporary fantasy. The first is a story of friendship: as Hemlock the goblin abandons his regimented and risky life as a Scavenger goblin in favour of the companionship of a brownie and a bird. In the second part, the two of them band together to face off against an evil developer, who seeks to reduce their "kingdom" to ruins.
There are plans to release this in two parts at a future date.

LemurKat's writing style is as colourful and quirky as her art - with a cast of interesting characters (but barely any humans). She draws inspiration from Laini Taylor (possibly her favouritest writer ever), Paul Kidd (who writes epic Furry fantasy), Piers Anthony (how NOT to write) and enjoys reading the works of other independently published authors. As a founding member of a local group of authors, the Christchurch Writers' Guild, she also enjoys reading and reviewing manuscripts and often finds herself automatically critiquing plots as she goes. Her books are self-edited, with input from other members of the Guild, for which she is currently editing an anthology of short stories, scheduled for release in early-to-mid June.

When she is not writing, LemurKat is generally reading or working on her many art projects. As you will notice if you are following this blog, she is currently drawing and uploading an animal-a-day, working systematically but selectively through the alphabet. This epic project is predicted to take about three years to complete. She is currently up to day #112 and still on the Co's. Each letter is being released as an art book, and a card game, app and/or compendium will follow.

Since you've found this blog - if you wish to know more, click on the links above to explore her website:

The Animal-a-Day project can also be followed on Tumblr:
* * *
Blog hop hosted by b00kr3vi3ws

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Creature Feature #118: Collared Lizard

There are several species of Collared Lizard spread across the deserts of North America and down through Mexico. The name is derived from their distinctive black and white "collar". This fellow is the "Dickerson's" species. Fast and agile, when running, he will often stand upright. His bright blue colouration makes him rather obvious from a distance, and thus more prone to predation. His bright colours might be an indication of his strength ("I'm so blue and obvious to predators, yet I am still alive, therefore I am strong and thus have good mate potential") and if other males come near he will arch his back, puff out his sides and bob up and down, doing "push-ups". It the intruder fails to be intimidated, he may then chase him off.  Females, on the other hand, are a duller colour. Lizards use colour to communicate, with the female gaining orange blotches when she is receptive to mating.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creature Feature #117: Coelacanth

The Coelacanth stirred a lot of attention when one was fished up in 1938 - it had been considered extinct for 65 million years. Once there were a number of species, now there remains just two. Thay are large fish who make their home in deep ocean trenches (150 to 700m deep) off the coast of Africa. His skull is hinged, allowing him to raise his head whilst feeding on other fish. His fins, also, follow an interesting arrangement, leading to some suggestions that he may be an ancestor of  the first terrestrial life. His pectoral and Pelvic fins are not dismilar to that of terrestrial vertebrates. The young develop inside the mother, within a yolk-filled egg sac connected to her belly. As the youngsters grow, the sac decreases in size until eventually  she gives birth to up to 26 pups. Yes, like sharks, baby coelacanth are called pups.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creature Feature #116: Coconut Crab

This freakish fellow is the largest land invertebrate in the world. His body can grow up to 40cm long, with the limbs extending him to 1m. A member of the Hermit Crab Family, when he is young he lives in empty gastropod shells, but as he matures he forms his own hard exoskeleton. He can be found on islands across the Indian Ocean, but on those with a large human population he has been extirpated (become locally extinct). This is, obviously, because a crab this big is going to find favour on the dinner table. He can climb trees and his claws are strong enough to crack coconuts, but coconuts do not form the major part of his diet. He prefers softer fruit, carrion and smaller crabs. They are likely responsible for the disappearance of many a shipwrecker-then-deceased sailor.  They will drown, which is a bit of an issue because they are still dependent on the ocean for reproduction. The eggs hatch into larvae where they grow through several stages. After about a month they find themselves a nice gastropod shell to wear and come ashore with other hermit crabs to begin their landlubber's life.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Creature Feature #115: Cockroach

Cockroaches are insects of the Order Blattaria and there are over 4,500 species ranging in size from 3mm to 80 mm. Commonly regarded as a pest - of all these species, only 30 are associated with human habitations. They are in fact an ancient Order, with fossils dating back to before the dinosaurs. Extremely adaptable, they have a cosmopolitan distribution, only avoiding the polar regions and high elevation.  These extremely hardy insects can withstand extended periods without food, and will live for a while after decaptitation. Some species can survive underwater for extended periods, withstand freezing. Their diet is particularly versatile and they will eat almost anything they can gain nutrients from - including the glue off postage stamps. Their ability to withstand radiation is somewhat over-exaggerated, however.

This pictured species is a Harlequin Cockroach. He is, due to his attractive colouration, one of the cockroaches that have found their way into the pet trade. He is fast and a skilful climber. When threatened, he can release a chemical that smells like pear droplets. This chemical, amyl acetate, has been used as a solvent and is also an agent in the prepration of penicillin.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Creature Feature #114: Cock-of-the-Rock

Another of the extensive Cotinga Family, the Cock-of-the-Rock is perhaps the most magnificant of the flock. He is the National Bird of Peru. It is the male who is the gaudy and flamboyant, the female is a rather more dowdy brown with patches of orange. Like the rest of his Family, the CotR cocks gather in communal "Leks", to perform for the attentions of the female. He raises his disc-shaped crest - his beak all but vanishing - and faces off against another male, flapping his wings, bowing, jumping and squawking, or grunting, raucously. After he has mated with the hens, his part in the breeding cycle is finished. The female builds her nest from mud, vegetable matter and saliva. In this compact cup, she lays two white eggs, which hatch after 28 days.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Creature Feature #113: Cockatoo

The Cockatoo Family consists of 21 species. These charismatic parrots are distributed in Australia and the surrounding islands, with the Ducorp's Cockatoo (pictured here) endemic to the Solomons Islands. Cockatoo are characterised by their crests and sharp, curved bills. The crest is a means of indicating emotion and is raised when the bird is excited or aggressive. The long beak is used to crack open seeds and hard woody cones that are inaccesible to other animals. In some parts of Australia the Cockatoo has become an agricultural pest and has been aggressively dominating other bird species within its range. Like all parrots, cockatoo are intelligent and have become a popular house pet.

 The archetypal cockatoo is white, but some species also come in pink and black. You shall see some of the other ones later in this series.

 This Ducorps' Cockatoo was commissioned for Kerry Myers.
If you wish to commission your own "Creature Feature", please visit my Etsy shop: The Art of LemurKat

Friday, February 7, 2014

Creature Feature #112: Cobra

The Spectacled Cobra is responsible for causing the most snake bite injuries (including deaths) within her range of the Indian subcontinent.  Her venom is neurotoxic and paralyses the body, which can result in respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. When threatened, she raises the front of her body and flattens her neck into the characteristic cobra "hood". This hood has a pattern of spots on the back that resemble eyes and give her the "spectacled" moniker. She was popular with snake-charmers, as the swaying motion she makes when roused can appear a little like hypnotic dancing. She is, in fact, deaf to the music but follows the movement of the pipe and reacts to the tapping of the Charmer's feet.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Creature Feature #111: Coati

The Coati belongs to the Procyanide family, making her cousin to the racoon. Like the racoon, she is an ominvore, following a diet of insects and small vertebrates. Her long, flexible snout is a useful tool for scenting and unearthing (with the help of her strong paws) tasty morsels from the forest floor. She is sociable, travelling in a large group, called  a "band", with other females and their cubs. The males follow a more solitary existence. Her long, striped tail balances her as she walks along tree branches foraging for food and also to communicate with her fellow band members when they forage on the ground. Coati are diurnal and quite bold, they can be found foraging around human campsites. At night they retreat up into the trees to sleep.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Creature Feature #110: Clownfish

Popularised by Pixar film, "Finding Nemo", there are actually around thirty different species of Clownfish, all a part of the Amphiprioninae Family. These range in size from 10-18 centimetres and come in a range of bright colours: orange, yellow, red with patches of black and white. They are anemonefish, and have formed a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemone. Clownfish appear immune to the potent poison of the anemone, and make their home within it, keeping it cleared of parasites and cleaning up its excretions. In turn, the anemone protects the fish from the many dangerous predators of the reef -  and sometimes gets a free meal as part of the deal. Clownfish begin life as males, transforming into females as they mature and gain dominance. This female will only mate with one male and if she dies, then the most dominant male will gender-shift to take her place.

Which all in all, makes you really look at "Finding Nemo" in a whole new light...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Creature Feature #109: Cloud Rat

Cloud Rats are also known as Cloudrunners, and they are large rat-like rodents found in the Philippines. Here they lead an arboreal existence, following a vegetarian diet of fruits, shoots, leaves and seeds. This fellow is the Northern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat and his kind have been successfully bred in captivity, and have also started to enter into the exotic pet trade. He is relatively common on the island of Luzon, where he makes his home both in lowland rain and montane forest, but has also been found on cultivated land - provided there is a plentiful supply of food. Despite this, little is known about these attractive rodents and much of their lifestyle remains a mystery.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Creature Feature #108: Clouded Leopard

The  Clouded Leopard makes her home in the Himalayan foothills, favouring the forested areas. She leads a mostly arboreal existence, and is one of the most skillful climbers in the feline family and can climb downwards, head first and also crawl along underneath branches. She leads a relatively solitary life, coming together with the male for a brief, and quite brutal, mating. With their long fangs, the males have even been known to sever the female's vertebrae during courtship. The female is then left to raise her cubs alone. Once hunted for her pelt, she now enjoys full protection across her range, although she is still threatened by poaching.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Creature Feature #107: Clam Worm

The Clam Worm is a marine annelid found throughout the North West Atlantic, the gulf of Maine and South Africa, at depths of . They spend much of their time scavenging the shallow sea bed for worms and algae, where they also play an important role in the diet of fish and crustaceans.  To protect themselves, they form a sheath of hardened mucus about their body. During lunar phases in the spring and summer, the Clam Worm may undergo a process called epigamy. Here they transforms into a morph capable of reproduction, with the internal digestive organs atrophing and the development of swimming appendages. Their main purpose now is to release eggs or sperm, and after that, they die.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Creature Feature #106: Clam

The Giant Clam is the largest living Bivalve mollusc and can measure up to 120 cm across. Long-lived, it has an average lifespan of over 100 years and can be found at depths of 20m, on a substrate of broken coral and shells. Giant Clams are hermaphrodites and can self-fertilise, but they also engage in broadcast spawning - synchronising with neighbouring clams - releasing eggs and sperm into the water. When the eggs are fertilised, they free float for about 12 hours before hatching into a free-swimming larvae. This trocophore quickly begins to produce a calcite shell and develops a "foot" which it uses to traverse the sea bed, although it can still swim at this point. After the first week it begins to slow down its movement as it seeks an appropriate location to become sessile. Once settled it adapts into the sedentary adult form.