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Fewer than five in 1,000 young seahorses survive into adulthood.

Assumptions about the female of the species giving birth are true of most creatures, but reproduction is all at sea for seahorses. It’s the male of this odd-looking fish species that experiences pregnancy and childbirth, to sighs of relief from female seahorses everywhere!

The female seahorse makes the eggs inside her body. Male and female entwine tails and perform a long courtship dance that ends with the female depositing the eggs in the male’s pouch. The male fertilizes the eggs and they hatch inside his pouch. The embryos take in everything they need, from oxygen to food, in a gestation period that lasts up to four weeks.

Fast Facts

Seahorses are marine fish found in warm, shallow waters all over the world. Their bodies are protected by bony plates, rather than scales. Poor swimmers, they use their grasping tail to cling to vegetation and their long snout to suck up plankton.