Saturday, September 27, 2014

Breeding: Candling

Here is a video of a little blue penguin egg being candled several times throughout its 38 day incubation period.

By shining a concentrated beam of light though the egg we can get a glimpse inside to determine if the egg is fertile.

A penguin egg

We first candle the egg when it is about 10 days old.  If it is fertile, we will see a small bean sized embryo with a network of veins. As incubation continues, the developing chick gets bigger and bigger and we begin to see it moving inside the egg. Just before it is due to hatch the chick becomes so big that it takes up the entire available space inside the egg, and the light beam no longer passed through the egg. This means hatching is not far away.

This is the device we use for candling

The Aquarium takes part in a Species Survival Plans for African and little blue penguins. It's always exciting to track the growth of these chicks while they're in the eggs. Candling is an important part of this process.

Stay tuned for more about the breeding season that happened behind the scenes at the Aquarium. Want to learn more about penguins right now? Head down to the Aquarium and dive into our Penguinology program! You'll learn about the secret world of penguins and some amazing facts about these birds living at the Aquarium. Plan a visit!