Asian Diver (English)

IT’S NOT A HORSE OF COURSE THE MALES HAVE IT

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Seahorses are unusual little marine creatures that belong to the fish family “Syngnathid­ae”, which includes seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons and pipehorses. They occur throughout the oceans of the world (except in the coldest seas at both poles) and can be found living in a variety of habitats including seagrass meadows, coral reefs, sponge gardens, and even on artificial structures such as jetties.

Now one of the most fascinatin­g things that make the seahorse so unique is their reproducti­ve biology. In seahorses, it’s the male that becomes pregnant, carrying the young in a pouch-like opening. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s pouch, which contains sperm, and the pregnancy lasts about two weeks to one month, after which the male gives birth. The number of babies born varies from species to species, but generally a brood size is around 100–300 babies. But after giving birth, it’s not over yet. This poor male seahorse will generally be impregnate­d again by a female right after and have to go through the whole process straight away! And not just twice: a besieged male can become pregnant up to eight times during a breeding season! (For some reason, women always seem to like this fact!)

Following birth, the babies are left to fend for themselves as there is no parental care; this is probably because poor dad has just become impregnate­d again and really doesn’t have time to look after all the kids! The survival rate for baby seahorses is considered to be poor and very few survive to adulthood. However, with so many being born during a breeding season, ultimately enough manage to survive to allow more reproducti­on in the future.

In seahorses, it’s the male that becomes pregnant, carrying the young in a pouch-like opening

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