Monday, June 16, 2008

Rare Sea Dragon Father "Pregnant"

Today I learned from National Geographic that this weedy sea dragon at the Georgia Aquarium is "pregnant"! If you look at his tail, you'll see that he is carrying about 70 fertilized eggs.Sea dragons, seahorses and pipefish are the only species where the male carries the eggs. During mating, the female sea dragons lay dozens of eggs and then transfer the eggs to the male's tail. In the wild, eggs have a slim chance of survival, but in captivity the life expectancy is increased to 60 percent.

This is only the third time that this rare creature has been observed being "pregnant" in captivity in the United States. These "pregnancies" are rare because researchers don't know what prompts them to mate, and so they have been unable to optimize conditions for courtship.

The Georgia Aquarium must have done something right when they recently changed the lighting and thinned out the plants to give the sea dragons more room to court each other.

This sea dragon's due date is sometime in July.

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