Aww!
Diver begins filming pregnant male seahorse not knowing its time had come
There are people who work with seahorses every single day who never get to witness something like this. It's incredible they were able to get this footage.
Elijah Chan
08.01.22

One of the greatest marvels of nature is birth.

This miracle of life will always be in the cycle of persistence and yet it is rare for us to witness wildlife birth with our own two eyes.

Especially births at sea.


YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

You might still remember the face you made when you learned for the first time that male seahorses are the ones who get pregnant.

Yes, the males carry their young.

And while it’s surreal to see them carry their young, witnessing them give birth is another thing entirely.

Two researchers witnessed such a miracle off the coast of New South Wales in Australia.

Clayton Manning and Meagan Abele are part of a marine conversation group based at the University of British Columbia.


YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

Full term

They were doing a seafloor survey of the local marine life when they came across what they described as a “very, very pregnant” male seahorse.


YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

They said that its small tail clung tightly around the seagrass as he was being swept away by the current.

Something was peeking out.

A tiny tail was sticking out from the seahorse’s brood pouch. After they finished taking the seahorse’s measurements, a baby seahorse shot out from the pouch.

The tandem then just floated still, watching the seahorse give birth.


YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

It must’ve been a surreal yet hopeful sight for the researchers because both of them were working on a conservation project for seahorses.


YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

The local seahorse species are called Hippocampus whitei or Sydney seahorse. Its scientific name means “horse-like sea monster” in Greek.

The researchers were doing dives and surveys to see how they can best support the seahorse population.

A constant source of fascination.

Seahorses have captured our imaginations since we first saw them.

The fish swims upright with its face resembling a horse. And while scientists know their basic biology, we still have a lot to learn about these creatures.

Not the best swimmers

Because of their anatomy, seahorses are not the best swimmers.

As such, they prefer seas with seagrass beds, mangroves, or coral reefs where they can hold onto surfaces.

Their unique physical appearance is not only the thing that’s remarkable. Seahorses are well-known for their role reversal when it comes to reproduction.

Females use a tube called an ovipositor that enables them to inject their eggs into the male’s brood pouch.

Males, in turn, incubate the eggs and carry them around. After two to four weeks, the seahorse spews out its young.

This was the event that these two lucky researchers recorded.

We hope that this will not be the last time we’ll see them give birth in the wild.

Victims of industry

The main threat that seahorses face is industrial fishing. Seahorses are caught in giant nets as bycatch. They are also hunted as dried trinkets for tourists.

They are also victims of traditional medicine markets in Asia.

YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - meagan abele

Seahorses are very selective when it comes to habitat so environmental changes diminish their populations as well.

In Australia, meanwhile, they have a reason to be optimistic about seahorse populations.

According to the University of British Columbia, local seahorse populations are thriving thanks to conservation efforts.

See this seahorse give birth in the wild in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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