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March 2, 2010

Grunion Run

"Grunion Love"
photo by Julianne E. Steers

I've heard stories before about the Grunion Run, but never had the opportunity to experience one. Recently I found information about a group of "Grunion Greeters" involving hundreds of citizen volunteers to study and report the spawning activity and habitat of grunion. Grunion Greeters observe small stretches of beach on nights of grunion runs during peak spawning season from April through early June. Grunion runs occur at night, twice a month, after the highest tides associated with a full or new moon.

California Grunion are a species of marine fish found only along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California. They are justifiably famous for their unique spawning behavior. Grunion spawn completely out of the water and lay their eggs on many sandy beaches in California. Shortly after high tide, on specific nights, sections of these beaches sometimes are covered with thousands of grunion dancing about on the sand....The eggs remain buried in the sand throughout incubation, fully out of water for approximately 2 weeks. The larvae hatch when the eggs wash out by high waves during tides before the new and full moons. Grunion spawn at the age of 1 year, and live for 2 to 4 years.
For more information, use the link above or go to grunion.org.

Have you ever witnessed a Grunion run? What was it like? Tell me about it in a comment on the blog.

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