|Credit: Peter Marko /UC Davis|
A male marine whelk, Solenosteira macrospira, will do all the work of raising the young, from egg-laying to hatching. He does this even though few of the baby snails are his own. When the snails mate, the female glues capsules containing hundreds of eggs each to the male's shell. A male could have as many as 250 eggs on its back. Researchers at UC Davis conducted a DNA analysis that found most whelk carry about 24 percent or less of their own offspring on their back. Why do they do it? Scientists say it could be because options are limited, scarce resources or simply because the investment of carrying eggs on the back is so little, the snails don't mind.