Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Seahorse Reproduction

      A few weeks ago, I made a post about reproductive strategies that are found and utilized within different species of marine seahorses. As abstract and weird as this sounds, it was actually quite fascinating to learn about. The average person probably has no idea how seahorses mate, let alone why it is unique. The male is the one who actually becomes 'pregnant.'
      Male and female seahorses will court for several days, and will take part in a dancing ritual. They will swim side by side at the same pace, so as to display that they are in sync with each other. The female will deposit the eggs into a pouch on the male's stomach region, where the eggs will brood for up to forty five days, or until the young emerge fully developed. This is why the male is considered to be the 'pregnant' one.
      While the eggs are still inside the male, the female will come and check on him almost daily. The males will become very aggressive to try and protect the young inside him, and will also puff out their stomach region, trying to increase their size to ward off potential predators and to also help protect the young. They will then be released into the water, and the males will leave them alone. At this point, the young are on their own to find food and protect themselves.
      Even though there are high numbers of young that are released by the male at the end of the brooding period, the survival rate is less than one percent, from the time they are released until the time when they reach sexual maturity. In this presentation, I would like to address all these points, as well as what happens physically within the body of the male seahorse itself.




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