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Rice coral polyps release bundles of sperm and egg during spawning, which ocean voyeurs may observe July 16 at Maui Ocean Center.
Maui Ocean Center marks ‘Sex and the Sea Week’
Summer's really heating up at Maui Ocean Center, set to host "Sex and the Sea Week," July 15 through 21, highlighted by a rice coral spawning spectacle in the aquarium after dark.
The event will take place 7 to 9 p.m. July 16. Stations will be set up around the aquarium, and a naturalist will be available to talk about the phenomenon.
Rice coral's sexual reproduction is linked to the lunar cycle, and spawning generally occurs a few days after the new moon in June and July. During spawning, coral polyps (tiny, cylindrical animals) simultaneously release bundles containing eggs and sperm, visible to the naked eye. The bundles float to the surface, and after 20 to 60 minutes, they break apart to release their contents. After fertilization, eggs become free-swimming larvae called planulae. Though most planulae do not survive this phase, some will settle on a hard surface and establish a new colony.
The cost to attend is $24.96 for adults and $20.16 for children age 3 to 12. Call (808) 270-7088 to reserve your place.