Rare Footage of a Papa Seahorse Giving Birth!

The Tennessee Aquarium's seahorse gallery is a busy nursery but actual footage of seahorses being born is still rare. Lucky for us Carol Haley, the Aquarium's Assistant Curator of Fishes, caught this amazing video of Lined Seahorses being shot-outta-Pop (that is not the technical term). Many people are surprised to learn that it's the father, not the mother, seahorse that gives live birth to the young.  In the video, you’ll notice the babies racing away from dad towards the surface. There’s a reason for that according to aquarist Elaine Robinson. “When they are born, Hippocampus erectus fry swim quickly to the surface of the water to gulp air for the primary phase of swim bladder inflation,” said Robinson.  “Lined seahorses tend to be pelagic, drifting near the surface of the water, in search of their prey.” 

In the pictures below, a toothbrush has been inserted for size reference Baby seahorses at Tennessee Aquarium 3

Baby seahorses at Tennessee Aquarium 3Photo credits: Thom Benson / Tennessee Aquarium

Aquarists quickly remove the babies to care for them in backup areas until they are strong enough to be placed on exhibit or shared with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited institutions.

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Baby Sea Dragons at Georgia Aquarium!

The Georgia Aquarium recently introduced three Sea Dragon babies to its display in the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery. The Georgia Aquarium is the third facility in the United States to successfully hatch Weedy Sea Dragons. An interesting fact about the Weedy Sea Dragon is that it is the male of the species that “gives birth.” The female lays up to 250 to 300 eggs onto the soft underside of the male's tail. The eggs are embedded into the skin in cup-like structures that harden and form around each egg to hold and protect them during brooding. After about two months, the bright pink eggs hatch into miniature juveniles, which settle into the vegetation.




Dad is protecting his little ones [below]

Photo credits: Georgia Aquarium


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The Secret Lives of (Baby) Seahorses

Yesterday the Monterey Bay Aquarium unveiled its newest exhibit, The Secret Lives of Seahorses, showcasing 15 species of seahorses, sea dragons, pipehorses and pipefish. Seahorses are unique in the animal kingdom because the male becomes pregnant and gives birth. The tiny babies stay close to their protective father by clinging to nearby plants with their strong tails.

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Dwarf Seahorses © Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you live anywhere in the United States, Western Hemisphere or planet earth, we strongly recommend you make the trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see these extraordinary creatures. In lieu of that, enjoy this webcast or at least watch the cool video below.