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The grunion are still running

April 22, 2008 |  2:22 pm

Come_out_come_out_grunion_you_are

Grunion, those iconic California fish that mate on land, are expected to rush the beaches again tonight. So say the folks at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, who have made a specialty of studying the small, silver-sided fish. The grunion are expected to arrive at Cabrillo Beach about 10:35 p.m.

Their ancient courtship (if you could call it that) ritual begins when females bury themselves in the sand to lay thousands of eggs. The males then wrap themselves around the females to fertilize the eggs. Isn't it romantic?

Grunion "runs" are tied to phases of the moon, and the April 7 run brought thousands of fish to Cabrillo Beach, as well as some researchers in white lab coats. Read all about their scientific efforts in Louis Sahagun's recent story. And be sure to check out Don Kelsen's video.

Reminder: It's illegal to catch grunion in April and May. During fishing season, they may be caught only by hand. Fishing licenses are required for people over 16.

The state Department of Fish and Game offers fascinating grunion facts and a schedule of their expected runs through July.

-- Steve Padilla

Photo: Don Kelsen/Los Angeles Times

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