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Seahorse Reproduction

Male Seahorses Do Most of the Work

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Photo of a Yellow Seahorse or Hippocampus taeniopterus - Scuba Diving Seahorse Photos

Male seahorses incubate eggs in a brood pouch on the front of their bellies.

Image copyright istockphoto.com, tswinner

An adorable yellow seahorse, Hippocampus taeniopterus, floats midwater. Male seahorses, like most male fish, care for developing young. In the majority of fish species, male parental care simply requires aerating eggs, keeping them clean, and defending them from predators. What fascinates many divers is that male seahorses take parental care much further.

Savvy divers watch for seahorses with swollen bellies. Male seahorses carry maturing seahorse eggs inside a brood pouch (a fleshy pouch on the front of the seahorse's belly) lined with blood vessels to provide oxygen and nourishment to the eggs. A female seahorse deposits her eggs in a male's brood pouch, where he fertilizes them and carries them until they hatch. The male give birth to fully formed, miniature seahorses that are already capable of swimming and feeding themselves.

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