On February 13 we celebrated the birth of 16 new dwarf seahorse babies in the lab. We have three more expectant fathers ready to deliver any day!
Wait?! Did you expectant fathers? Yup! Male seahorses carry the eggs of the females in their specialized pouch for about 14 days. While the males don’t provide nutrients to the babies to grow, that comes from the egg, they do provide oxygen and change the pouch fluid from internal body fluid to seawater as the babies develop. By the time he’s ready to give birth the babies are floating in the same seawater in the pouch as what is outside, ensuring they’re adjusted to life outside.
The male goes through labor and has contractions which help push the babies out into the water. Once the babies are born, the males and females do not care for their young and they’re entirely on their own.