Marine Biology

Reproduction Process of Seahorses



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Seahorses are an extraordinary species that have very unusual lives. They live way different than any other creature I know. Throughout the process of many organisms, in reproduction the female is the one who gets pregnant. In the case of seahorses, the male goes through pregnancy. It may seem odd, but is true. It has been observed that the male and females will court for several days and during that period of time they will perform "dancing rituals".

They will be seen swimming at the same pace trying to mirror the others movements by syncing with them. The male has a pouch on one side of the body. The female inserts her oviduct into the male's brooding pouch. She does this several times in short intervals to avoid exhaustion. While inserting the oviduct she is giving the male the eggs. The female deposits around 1500 eggs into the male, even though the pouch is not that big the eggs are amazingly small.

The larger the species the larger the eggs. During the female's resting periods the male contorts himself to try to get the eggs in place in his brooding pouch. After completion of the process the male moves away and attaches his tail to a nearby plant. The female also moves away waiting for her oviduct to recede. The oviduct usually recedes within a few hours. The male will carry the eggs for up to 45 day and then the young will emerge fully developed. During those 45 days the female will check up on the male daily and male will become very aggressive. It helps ensure the young ones will be able to grow and mature in his body until they are born.

When males are ready to give birth they extend their pouch to an almost spherical shape. The male also goes through muscle contortions, a forward and backward bend and lasts about ten minutes. The seahorse releases the young ones into the water and after the last young seahorse has left, the pouch goes back to normal shape, which usually takes about an hour. The young seahorses have to care for themselves. This is why they have a very high mortality rate.

Less than one percent lives to mature and mate with others. Those who do mature have a life span of about four to six years. After giving birth males are ready to remate after a few hours. In many areas there are farms that help to increase their population because their population is decreasing every second. The reproduction and life of a seahorse is cruel and unique.

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