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  • The seahorse, while a fish, doesn't exactly look or act like one.

  • They have a prehensile tail that can grab vegetation, a tube-shaped mouth for sucking up food, and when they have sex, it's the male that gets pregnant.

  • While male pregnancy in seahorses is fairly unique in the animal kingdom, their mating ritual might sound familiar.

  • They like to break the ice by doing some dancing.

  • Seahorses will dance with each other for days, wrapping their tails around one another, and even changing colors in the process.

  • This allows the couple to reinforce their bond and assess one another's reproductive ability.

  • It also might help synchronize their movements for what comes next.

  • The reproductive role-reversal is made possible in part by the male's brood pouch.

  • The male will extend this pouch to impress his dance partner.

  • The female seahorse will then deposit her eggs into the pouch using a protrusion from the bottom of her torso called an ovipositor.

  • Once the eggs are with the male, he will fertilize them with his sperm, ensuring that he is, in fact, the father.

  • His work isn't done there, however.

  • The brood pouch is more than just a flap of skin to hold eggs in.

  • During pregnancy, the male seahorse keeps blood flowing around the embryos,

  • controls the salinity of the environment, and provides oxygen and nutrition to offspring.

  • When it's time to birth his young, the male seahorse expels the newborn seahorses from his pouch using muscle contractions.

  • There can be as many as 2,000 offspring, known as "fry", but many don't make it to adulthood.

  • Newborn seahorses are left on their own once out of the brood pouch, and most die from predators or being whisked away by ocean currents.

  • Less than five in every thousand will survive.

  • Meanwhile, while the male seahorse has been busy being Mr. Mom, there are female seahorses with more eggs that are ready to be deposited.

  • Some male seahorses can give birth in the morning and be pregnant by the end of the day.

  • Back to the dance floor, Mr. Seahorse.

  • Back to the dance floor.

  • For more videos about animal dads, check out this playlist from our friends at the Dodo.

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The seahorse, while a fish, doesn't exactly look or act like one.

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B2 US seahorse male pouch dance floor mating reproductive

The Strange Sexual Journey of the Male Seahorse

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    swingguppy posted on 2022/04/14
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