Aww! Aren't they cute? They're little stringy things squiggling all over the place! Or something.
Marine biologists everywhere are all sorts of excited because they were finally able to figure out how those little stringy squiggling things, otherwise known as Antarctic Krill, have sex. How cool is that?
They've been trying to study mating habits of krill—which represent a big food group for whales, penguins, seabirds and fish—in earnest because there appears to be a massive decline in their numbers in the sea. No more krill means quite a few species will start to die out as well, says Joseph Warren, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
“We are probably a little biased in the studying of these animals, because we are only able to study them in near-surface waters,” Warren told LiveScience. “We may be missing significant numbers of them when we do samples and surveys.” But now researchers in the Antarctic have managed to get some deep-water video.
Black and white footage shows the tiny white creatures chasing each other around before the male positions his packet of sperm over her egg sac, and embracing her. First they face each other, and then the male wraps his abdomen around hers. At some point, he releases his sperm, and then they swim in circles together.
So now we know. Maybe this knowledge will save the whales?