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Male seahorse giving birth at The Deep Hull
Posted by Byron Movement on 2013-06-17 07:58:11.0

Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.


Many seahorses mate for life.



Many seahorses are monogamous, meaning they mate for life. The male and female have an elaborate, daily courtship ritual, involving a "dance" where they entwine their tails, and may change colors.


Male seahorses give birth.



Unlike any other species, the males become pregnant. Females insert her eggs through an oviduct into the male's brood pouch. The male wiggles to get the eggs into position. Once all the eggs are inserted, the male goes to a nearby coral or seaweed and grabs on with his tail to wait out gestation, which may last several weeks. When it's time to give birth, he'll contort his body in contractions, until the young are born, sometimes over a period of minutes or hours. Baby seahorses look just like miniature versions of their parents.




Seahorses are vulnerable to extinction.



Seahorses are threatened by harvesting (for use in aquariums or Asian medicine), habitat destruction, and pollution. Because they are hard to find in the wild, population sizes may not be well-known for many species. Some ways you can help seahorses are not purchasing souvenir seahorses, not using seahorses in your aquarium, support seahorse conservation programs, and avoid polluting water by not using chemicals on your lawn and by using eco-friendly household cleaners.