For Father’s Day, here’s a fascinating video of a male seahorse giving birth, one of the best fathers in the animal kingdom.
The male seahorse is equipped with what is called a brood pouch on his front-facing side. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries their eggs for 9 to 45 days until the seahorses emerge fully developed, but very small. Once the seahorses are released into the water, the male’s role is done…. until he finds another female.
Before breeding, seahorses court for several days. Scientists believe the behavior synchronizes the animals’ movements so that the male can receive the eggs when the female is ready to deposit them. During this time they may change color, swim side by side holding tails or grip the same strand of sea grass with their tails and wheel around in unison in what is known as a “pre-dawn dance”. They eventually engage in a “true courtship dance” lasting about 8 hours. When the female’s eggs reach maturity, she and her mate let go of any anchors and snout-to-snout, drift upward out of the seagrass, often spiraling as they rise. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch and both animals then sink back into the seagrass.