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Spawn (biology): Wikis


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Photo of hundreds of black dots each surrounded by transparent sac
Frog spawn
11 photos, displayed serially. The first shows 5 black dots. The second shows the dots slightly elongated. The third shows greater elongation. The fourth shows slight emergence of tails. The remaining photos show continually larger tails, increasingly curved bodies and tails, and emerging heads.
Frog spawn development
Photo of hundreds of black dots surrounded by translucent sacs with vegataion in background and foreground

Spawning is the production or depositing of large quantities of eggs in water. The young that hatch from these eggs are known as spawn. Aquatic animals such as amphibians and fish reproduce by spawning.


Types of egg-layers

  • egg scatterers
  • nest builders
  • egg hangers
  • mouth breeders
  • egg buriers
  • egg enlargement

Egg development



An egg sac or collection can be called a 'redd' as in 'salmon redd' for the eggs attached to the stream bottom. Specifically, a salmon redd is the space at the bottom of a stream that a spawning salmon makes for its eggs usually in a nest of rocks or scattered among the ground. Salmon eggs are typically a reddish, pink, or a yellow color.


Photo of finger-shaped, large-eyed fish attached to thin, approximately circular yolk sac
A salmon alevin

Larval fish have not yet emerged from the nesting area. Alevins eat the contents of their yolk sac while their digestive systems are developing. At this stage, the fish are not prepared to hunt live prey, and are completely dependent on the yolk sacs.

Photo o many small finger-shaped fish
Artificially-incubated chum salmon


Photo of small fish against background of large pot
Guppy Fry, 1 week

Fry have fully absorbed their yolk sacs and can now hunt and consume live food. The fry of live-bearers do not have a yolk sac and therefore need to begin feeding immediately after birth.


A parr is a juvenile fish that is preparing to leave the fresh waters of its home.


At the smolt stage, Salmonids become physiologically adapted to saltwater and begins trekking to their salt water environment.


Drawing of head and open mouth of fish with hooked lower jaw and unevenly-colored spots between eye and gills
Male grilse, showing fungus partly developed on head

A salmonid, especially an Atlantic salmon, which is returning to its spawning grounds after just one year in the sea.

See also

Simple English

Frog spawn.

Spawn is the eggs of some animals. Laying those eggs is called spawning. Animals that live in water, such as fish and amphibians, reproduce by spawning. When the spawn hatches, the young fish are called fry and the young amphibians are called tadpoles.


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