Friday morning, the Ocean Explorium received a call from the Lloyd Center for the Environment in Dartmouth. One of their campers caught a lined sea horse (Hippocampus erectus) last week and, when staff arrived Friday morning, they saw that the seahorse had released hundreds of babies!
Seahorses are special animals, not just because they are fish with a horse shaped head, but also because the fathers carry the eggs inside a pouch on their belly. The babies are released from the father’s pouch after about 20 days of development and then live on their own.
The Lloyd Center brought these sea horse babies to the Ocean Explorium for care, and, with hard work and a little luck, a few may survive. In the wild, parents who produce hundreds of young can expect only a few to survive to adulthood; in captivity, the same happens. If we are able to raise one or two of these babies, that will be a great accomplishment, BUT, we should not get our hopes up. If this sea horse father was a first time dad, none of his young are likely to survive. As this seahorse becomes a more experienced father, his babies will have a better chance of success. Stay tuned for updates and photos!