As soon as any new eggs are laid, I quickly fertilise them to make sure I’m their Dad. You’ll see me wiping the eggs over in the video, and the photo shows my special glands with the honeycomb pattern. These glands are only this big when I’m attracting females in the spring and then looking after the eggs. They shrink in size at the end of July or in August after my last batch of eggs has hatched.
The first purpose of the glands is to produce delightful smells to attract the females. Teresa wonders if their second job is to smear the sperm over the eggs to fertilise them (I’m keeping that bit a secret at the moment). The glands’ third and most important job is to produce a special slime that I constantly wipe over the developing eggs that the females have left in my care. This magic slime keeps the eggs healthy and in good condition.
Lots of the types of fish you find in rock pools are like me and guard their eggs at this time of year. If you pick one up, please put it back immediately where you found it!