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Something fishy going on in La Jolla

February 14, 2010 | By | Reply More

If you’re visiting La Jolla and notice groups of locals on the beach at night shining flashlights onto the surf, chances are good the grunion – tiny little fish – are going through their odd mating ritual. Nothing – well, almost nothing – intrigues San Diegans like a good grunion run.

On certain spring and summer nights following high tides, hundreds of the small, silvery fish ride waves onto shore for this remarkable dance. While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves protectively around the females to fertilize their eggs. Both catch a wave to return to sea.

You can grab a flashlight (and jacket) and head to La Jolla Shores on your own or you can join the folks at Birch Aquarium for a more educated approach to the spawning phenomena. Reservations must be made in advance by calling 858-534-7336. The program costs $12 per person.

Dates of the spring Birch Aquarium escorted runs are:

Friday, April 16, 9:30-11:30 p.m.
Friday, May 14, 9:30-11:30 p.m.
Friday, May 28, 9-11 p.m.
Saturday, May 29, 9:30-11:30 p.m.

If you want more info, “Grunion Groupies” meet Saturdays and Sundays, April 3-June 6 at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Here, naturalists describe the tale of the elusive California grunion, including how these fish “run” up our local beaches and lay their eggs in the moist sand.

The Grunion Groupie lecture is included in the cost of admission to the Aquarium: $12 adult, $9 senior, $8.50 youth 3-17, and children under 2 free.

The California Department of Fish & Game also provides information on their website and posts the schedule for the “expected grunion runs” March – August 2010 http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/grunionschedule.asp

You really haven’t seen La Jollans at their kookiest until you’ve been to a grunion run.

Watercolor courtesy of Grunion Greeter Don Longacre, www.grunion.org

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Category: Beaches

About the Author ()

I live in La Jolla and I'm a travel writer, so in addition to enjoying my home town's great weather, beautiful surroundings, and range of cultural and recreational options, I also see La Jolla - and the rest of San Diego - as a travel destination. And what I see sometimes drives me batty. People vacation in La Jolla, but don't take advantage of everything our community offers, so I decided to start this blog and provide insider advice for out-of-towners. Hey. I figure if I can write insider tips about exotic destinations on Authentic Luxury Travel, I ought to be able to lead readers off the beaten path that starts just outside my front door. In the process, I'm having fun revisiting my favorite places and discovering some new ones. Travel writers are naturally snoopy, and this blog is my excuse to have a good ol' sticky beak around my home town. I hope you find it helpful. If you are coming to La Jolla or another area of San Diego and would like my help in planning your trip, please read "Need Help Planning Your Trip" and then email me at ehansen298@aol.com. Elizabeth Hansen

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