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What’s not to love about baby seahorses?

26 September 2010 No Comment

Catherine de Lange, reporter

Let’s face it, we can never see too many stories about male animals that gestate their young and give birth. And when the babies are as insanely supercute as this, so much the better. But – there’s always a but – seahorses in the wild aren’t doing so well.

A record-breaking 918 baby short-snouted seahorses were born at London Zoo’s aquarium on Monday and caught on camera.

Famed for their unusual gestation process – whereby the male is equipped with a ‘brood pouch’ and goes through pregnancy and birth – seahorses are notoriously hard to breed:

“Last year we managed to breed a batch of fry, but sadly none of them made it through to adulthood. This year marks the very first time we’ve managed to rear short-snouted seahorses to a stage where they’re eating live food,” said Sam Guillaume who led the breeding team.

Such large numbers of offspring are a survival adaptation in the wild, according to Brian Zimmerman, the aquarium’s Assistant Curator. In the wild, only one or two would make it to adulthood, he says, and they are especially susceptible to fishing practices and pollution.

A clear example is in the Gulf of Mexico, where the dwarf seahorse – the smallest seahorse in the world – is facing extinction following the BP oil spill. Amanda Vincent, director of the Project Seahorse conservation group told CBC News this week that the animals were in the height of their breeding season when the rig blew up in April. Read full article

Source: NewScientist

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