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Sea Squirt Sex
By Matt J. Weiss, August 29, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Abc.net.au
I am a critter addict. I love the little stuff, and heres a great reason why.

Researchers have recently discovered that sea squirts can control fertilization depending on population density.  The hermaphroditic invertebrate  will produce small eggs and larger, longer living sperm in places of high population density.

The reason is simple but fascinating-protecting the eggs from polyspermy, or the fertilization of an egg by two sperm.  This a problem among invertebrates in high population density areas.  Unlike vertebrates, which send out electrical block against other sperm as soon as one reaches an egg, invertebrates take a while to protect the egg from a second sperm.   So when females detect that there are a lot of sea squirts in the area, they make there eggs smaller, making it harder for the sperm to get to and so only the longest living sperm can find it.

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