Pet Seahorse

The Seahorse Courtship Dance, Pregnancy and Birth

The Seahorse Courtship Dance, Pregnancy and Birth

The courtship dance is probably the most spectacular dance you will ever see!

The male and female seem to take on a glow or slight color change, this attracts the other partner and encourages them to begin the performance.

The male will almost bend in half as he displays to the female that his pouch is empty, the opening at the top of the brood pouch just below the anal fin will open quite wide and the inside of the pouch will be clearly visible.

The male then lowers his head just like a horse prancing and circles around the tank displaying himself. The male and female will link tails and prance in synchronized motion around the tank. This courtship dance may stop and start again for several days until the female is ready to part with her eggs.

When both are ready for the egg transfer they will rise through the water column. The female will position herself above the males open brood pouch.

A clutch or string of orange eggs will be deposited into the males pouch. Some may fall out or be left on the male after he closes his pouch, these will not be fertile. The male will depart to a quiet spot and roll around, this is done to settle the eggs into his pouch, he fertilizes them and begins the pregnancy.

His pouch will now look slightly bigger and firmer. If your seahorse has a light colored pouch you should notice it darken over the next couple of weeks.

If you have noticed your male to be pregnant, it is wise to check your pumps and filters, they may need to be covered with net material ensuring the baby seahorses don't get sucked into the openings or even better move him to a maternity tank for the duration of his pregnancy.

The birth usually occurs during the first hours of sunrise. The male goes into labor and gives birth to live young. The males pouch will open and he almost shoots the young out. They may come out ones and twos then in small groups. The size of the young also varies dependent upon the species. Size usually varies from 8 mm to 18 mm.

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