Pregnant Poppas: the Underknown Sex Life of the Male Seahorse

Sometimes nature likes to mix things up a bit. Could you see a human male being pregnant? In the seahorse world, that’s how life works.

If you were a dad about to give birth to upwards of 2000 offspring in one fell swoop, you’d be thankful for the ability to have eyes that move independently of each other. Such is the way reproduction works when it comes to seahorses, where the men self-fertilize eggs deposited by their female partner-for-life in what is called a brood pouch. All of this takes place after the pair have a re-kindling of their relationship over several days with dances that have them intertwined and changing colors for upwards of an hour.

When it comes time for the male seahorse to give birth, the embryos are not so much pushed as they are shot out into the sea – sometimes after 12 hours of contractions. The healthy youngsters exit the ever-expanding brood pouch with dad having turned on various genes that will have helped supply vital nutrients and also keep his youngsters safe from bacteria.

Story by Jay Moon