I’ve been dying to go to the Secret Lives of Seahorses exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Seahorses are such strange and romantic little things. They perform courtship dances (lasting up to 8 hours), hold tails, swim snout to snout and bond monogamously for a season.
Then to top that, the males carry and birth the babies! What gentlemen. The female deposits her eggs into his pouch, using a tube called an oviduct, where he fertilizes and incubates the fry until they are ready to swim out fully developed. The pouch provides nutrients, oxygen and regulates salinity. The male even produces prolactin (a hormone found in pregnant women) and has contractions during the birthing process.
You can find an archived webcast here of Monterey Bay Aquarium experts discussing seahorses, pipefish and sea dragons. It’s about an hour long but has some really great photos and videos.
If you’d like to aid in the conservation of one of America’s only species, you can send a note to Governor Schwarzenegger of California asking him to support legislation which will help protect marine areas. Monterey Bay Aquarium makes it easy by providing a form which can be personalized and delivered from the site.
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