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Seahorse’s remarkable survival

The seahorse is a small species of vertebrate that is found in the tropical shallow and temperate waters around the world. Yes, seahorses are fish. They stay around coral reefs where there is plenty of food and places for them to hide. The seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems to quickly, they must eat almost constantly to stay alive.

The seahorse is best known for the remarkable fact that the male seahorse is the one that actually carries the eggs before they hatch. Male pregnancy frees the female to make more eggs straight away and so reproduce quicker. Seahorse pairs for life. Seahorses engage in an eight hour courtship dance which includes spinning around, swimming side by side and changing colors.

The female transfers her eggs to the male which he self fertilizes in his pouch. She deposits anywhere from a few dozen to thousands of eggs into the male’s pouch, depending on the species of seahorse. They receive everything they need in the pouch from oxygen to food. During the gestation period from 14 days to 4 weeks, the female visit the male on a daily basis.

As the male prepare s to give birth, his pouch gets rounder and rounder. In the minute immediately preceding birth, his muscles contort, bending him backward and forward repeatedly for about ten minutes until all the fully formed miniature seahorses explode out of the pouch. The male’s pouch returns to its normal size and position in only about an hour and he is ready to mate again within a few hours. The young are left alone, and in the end around 5 infant seahorses in every 1,000 survive to adulthood. Many are eaten by predators or die of starvation when ocean currents push them away from food sources.