[Non-Ceph]: seahorse reproduction


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
A bit off topic, but I know there are seahorse fanciers and breeders about, so I figured I'd pass this on:


it's interesting that along with the gender role-reversal in pregnancy, the gamete production in male seahorses has also moved towards lower numbers, so the traditional view that eggs are expensive and sperm is cheap seems to be a bit at odds with this species, at least (as well as Cuttlegirl's Baby A).
I went to the Institute of Zoology site to see if there was more but the article said about the same thing that was in the Reuters article. You would expect a little more to be available, at least a description as to where the sperm exits the male since this is a whole new discovery. Very interesting timing since a pair of mine successfully mated yesterday in front of the camera ;>). Thanks for posting the article link!
Some new info, but a few things in that article are screwey. Like, they mention seahorses are the only ones that the male gives "birth" to the young... what about pipefish and relatives?
I also challenge that they have it exactly right but not because of the missing info about pipefish (that is more due to the news print than the experimentation I think). So much so that I was brazen enough to offer a suggestion for further research. The pouch flushing activity has never been well understood either. If you include that with what the researchers found anicdotal evidents suggests that the male may be sucking in (rather than flushing out) his sperm with this activity, allowing fertalization to occur within the pouch as was previously thought. If you have ever observed a mating, it is just not viable that the sperm attach to the eggs in the water. I have a recent video if anyone is interested and has not seen seahorses mate. Strange how timely some things are ;>):

Photo and Video Storage | Photobucket

The next two show some of the courting behavior:
Photo and Video Storage | Photobucket

Photo and Video Storage | Photobucket
Reply to my email from Institute of Zoology

It always makes you feel special :roll: when you have a thought that the experts don't think is too pedestrian. I received a very pleasant note from Bill Holt about my theory that the male's pumping may be the intake of the sperm rather than expecting the sperm to come in contact with the eggs during transfer:

"Thanks for your email. I am sure you are right about the sperm entering the pouch and then fertilising the eggs afterwards. We had a difficult time trying to explain our findings to the press, who want everything simplified to such a degree that any subtlety is lost. It is clear that the small number of sperm need to be moved quickly into the pouch otherwise they will be lost. Your idea is therefore a good one,

Best regards,

Professor William V. Holt

Institute of Zoology"

Kinda Kool

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