Abalone is a family of snails. They are mainly found in warm water and can grow to the size of your hand. Now researchers have come up with something to help this endangered species.
Attempts have been made for some time to increase the numbers of these huge sea snails by breeding them. But this is not an easy task. It is difficult to determine if the abalone is ready to breed. To find out, sticky animals have to be plucked from their place and this is very stressful for them.
California researchers have come up with something for this: an ultrasound device that looks like a wand. They followed some abalone in captivity for several weeks to see if the machine was able to detect changes in the gonads that said something about fertility.
In fact, they were able to detect small changes before and after the time of ovulation. In addition, the animal can simply remain in place under the water and the instrument is kept on the outside of the water bowl. This makes a big difference in how often you have to manually pick up abalone. Something we hope will contribute to the survival of an animal that plays an important role in marine ecosystems.
Read more: Ultrasound of abalone†