We're excited to announce that our spiny seahorse has become a first-time dad! Now the challenge is to raise all the seahorse babies - no mean feat!
Back in June we noticed that our male spiny seahorse was beginning to look somewhat swollen around the brood pouch. Either he was 'pregnant' or had eaten way too much shrimp! He was moved from the display into quarantine for close observation. Then last weekend our aquarist team arrived at work to discover he had given birth over night to more than 100 babies!
Spiny seahorses (Hippocampus guttulatus) are native to UK waters but they are rare and efforts to breed them in captivity have not been particularly successful. Our seahorses came to Macduff from a hatchery in Portugal, thanks to a donation in 2016 from our fab Friends of Macduff Marine Aquarium.
Now raising the fry will be a huge challenge for our team - they are notoriously difficult to keep alive as they have very specific feeding requirements. In the wild only about one in 2,000 baby seahorses survive to adulthood! We will do what we can and take this as an opportunity to learn the techniques for raising seahorse fry and see what happens. It is very likely that our male will become 'pregnant' again so we may have more chances in the future.
Baby seahorses take around six months to reach adult size. The dad is back on display but the babies will remain off exhibit in a special nursery tank. Visitors can see the babies (while we still have them) if they book on our 'Behind the Scenes' tour on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons...‹ 2018