- CRITTER TALK
The seahorse dad might not go to ball games with their kids or read them a bedtime story, but they do something human dads can’t: Male seahorses undergo pregnancy and give birth to their sons and daughters. The trait is unique in these strange and fascinating fish that inhabit tropical and temperate coastal waters worldwide.
Seahorses, which range from less than an inch to a foot in length, have evolved a series of unusual adaptations – a prehensile tail for clinging to underwater vegetation, a tubelike mouth for sucking in tiny crustaceans, and protective bony plates in their skin. There are 32 species of seahorse, all in the genus Hippocampus.
Seahorses are the only animals in the entire animal kingdom in which the male gives birth and cares for their young! The female seahorse deposits the eggs into the male’s small pouch like a kangaroo where the eggs are fertilized and where the baby seahorses grow until it is time for them to be born.
Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life! Every morning, they come together with their partner, dance, change their color, twirl around with linked tails and then separate for the rest of the day.
While mating, seahorses utter musical sounds. Seahorses have a voracious appetite and can they graze continually and consume 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day.