Incubation of eggs

January 18, 2000
From: Karen Whiteid

My son is preparing a report on sea slugs. We cannot find information to tell us what the length of the incubation period for the eggs. Would someone let us know?
Thank you,
Karen Whiteid

Whiteid, K., 2000 (Jan 18) Incubation of eggs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Karen,
Sometime when I have time I will prepare a page on larval development. In the meantime, have a look at pages in the General Topics List which are concerned with 'larvae' and 'eggs'. Make sure you look at the messages on each page as they and the associated answers often have more relevant material.

Basically the time between egg-laying and hatching differs in different species and can range from a few hours to 3 weeks or more. In most cases (we think) the egg develops in its capsule into a microscopic shelled veliger larva which hatches out into the sea where it lives and feeds, again for a variable period of time depending on the species. Some larvae don't feed and spend only a short period in the plankton.

In some cases the eggs develop directly into a little crawling slug which hatches out of the egg capsule which is usually laid on the preferred food of the species.

If you have further question please ask,
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Jan 18). Comment on Incubation of eggs by Karen Whiteid. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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