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Rare Video of Female Seahorse Transferring Eggs to Male

seahorse transferring eggs
Image by @jefFREEDOM via Reddit.

In this rare video, we’re privy to the very beginning of the life of a sea horse. Namely, the moment when the eggs are transferred from the female to the male.

In a delicate and synchronized dance, the female seahorse is seen closely approaching the male and begins the process of transferring her eggs into his brood pouch. The male’s body swells slightly as he receives the eggs – perhaps what we would call a “baby bump”.

The Unusual Reproductive Habits of Seahorses

Seahorses are among the few animal species on Earth where the male takes on the role of pregnancy. This unique reproductive strategy begins with an intricate courtship dance that can last for hours. After this bonding ritual, the female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch, where he fertilizes them internally.

How Seahorse Dads Give Birth

seahorse
Image by Thomas Bannenberg via Pexels

The concept of “giving birth” takes on a new meaning with seahorse dads. After carrying the eggs in his pouch for two to four weeks, the male seahorse experiences contractions, expelling the fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.

This process can be exhausting for the male, as he can give birth to anywhere from 5 to 1,000 babies at a time. Remarkably, shortly after birthing, males are often ready to mate again, should a willing female be nearby.

Are They the Only Animals Where the Male Gives Birth?

While seahorses are the most famous for their male pregnancy, they are not alone in this unusual biological feature.

Their close relatives, the pipefish and the leafy and weedy sea dragons, also share this reproductive strategy. However, the seahorse’s method is particularly notable for the extent of the male’s involvement, carrying the offspring through to live birth, making them a unique subject of study.

How Tiny Is a Baby Seahorse?

Baby seahorses, known as fry, are astonishingly tiny at birth, measuring just 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Despite their diminutive size, these babies are completely independent, receiving no further care from their parents.

Immediately after birth, they drift in the plankton layer of the ocean, vulnerable to a wide array of predators (and is no wonder the survival rate is very low.)

Seahorse Transferring Eggs: Conclusion

seahorses
Image by David Clode via Unsplash

Other than being utterly adorable, seahorses challenge our perceptions of parental roles and highlight the beauty of biodiversity. We never have to look far in order to learn a lesson from nature.

Thank you for reading this article about the female seahorse seen transferring her eggs to the male! If you’re in the mood for more marine creatures, take a look here:

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