Sea Horse; The Animal Where the Male Becomes Pregnant and Gives Birth

It’s really amazing to know that a female seahorses impregnating their male mates rather than the other way around. Actually the reproductive process of a seahorse begins when a male and a female meet up and “dance”, for several days prior to the actual act of mating. The two fish will meet to intertwine their tails and swim together; they also sometimes grip the same strand of sea grass with their tails and whirl around it in unison. Researchers believe this courtship and dancing synchronizes the movements of the two fish to prepare the male to receive eggs at the same time the female is ready to deposit them. Seas Horse MatingSeas_horsess The male blows water through an egg pouch on his stomach, after several days of this. The water flow expands and opens the pouch to demonstrate to the female that it is empty and ready for her to insert her ovipositor, which is an organ used to lay eggs. Now, the two swim in a sort of snout-to-snout embrace and spiral upward through the water trying to line up so that the female can inserts her ovipositor into the male’s pouch. She does this several times and rest in between to avoid becoming exhausted. As the eggs leave the female body, it slims down and as the male receives the eggs, it plumps up. The process can last up to eight hours in the end she deposits anywhere from a few dozen to thousands of eggs into the male’s pouch depending on the species of seahorse.

Hard Phase

After doing that the female does not stay to cuddle but simply swims away and finds a nice place to rest while her ovipositor contracts which can take a couple hours. The male than attaches himself to a nearby plant and releases sperm directly into the water around him to fertilize the eggs which are now embedded in the wall of his pouch. This pouch provides oxygen and prolactin to nurture the eggs. When male prepares to give birth his pouch gets rounder and rounder. With in the minutes immediately preceding birth his muscles contort which bend him backward and forward repeatedly for about ten minutes until all the babies explode out of the pouch and there can be as few as eight and as many as 200 seahorse fry born at a time. In only about an hour male’s pouch returns to its normal size and position and he is ready to mate again within a few hours and sometimes even does!  
1280   21/09/2013

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