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Pregnant Fathers

Hipocampo macho embarazado

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Among seahorses, it is the father who carries the pregnancy. The mother simply deposits her eggs into a tiny opening of the brood pouch located on the front part of the male’s tail and then departs forever. The male fertilizes the eggs and incubates them for a period of two months. As the embryos develop, the brood pouch expands, giving the male a tender pregnant appearance.

When it is time for birth, the father’s body undergoes convulsive movements and intermittent contractions. Through successive flexing and straightening, the seahorse begins to deliver the offspring individually or in groups. During the hours-long birthing process, resembling labor, several dozen offspring will see the light. Once the birth is complete, the father abandons the offspring to their fate, not without devouring some of them within his reach.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”