Seahorse-the pregnant male

Hi, I am a leafy sea dragon, one out of around 50 species of seahorses.  Despite my name, I’m not related to horses (though I look a bit like them). Female and male seahorses are very much alike so the only way to distinguish us is the abdominal area: male have a bigger ‘belly’ just before mating because it’s them who are going to keep and carry the eggs up to 45 days. After I deposit my eggs in my mate’s pouch, I check on him daily until the young ones are born. The male has to take care of the eggs and defend them. People who study us think that’s why the males puff – to deter the predators away. We’re quite defenceless so our only hope is mastering camouflage, which we do quite well (as you can see in the pic). The young seahorses start taking care of themselves as soon as they’re born. More than 99% won’t survive to mate. Sometimes we mate for life, but we’re more likely to switch mates each season. In fact, we’re like group swingers because we live in groups and swap mates within the group. In overall, we’re quite flexible and respond to changes in environment and the occasion. We’re very fragile so even though we come in many different, often spectacular, colours and shapes, our population is decreasing.
 -a seahorse, lifespan 1-5 years

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