Reproductive Biology

Between 250 and 400 eggs are deposited in the male's brood pouch during courtship (the larger the female, the greater the number of eggs). Males develop brood pouches by about 3 in (7.5 cm) in length, and males with eggs are recorded at 3.5 in (9 cm). In courtship the male and female closely follow each other, and the male presents his pouch to the female's genital area. As eggs are being transferred from the female into the male's pouch, they both rise in the water and may change color. Breeding takes place in the summer or year-round in tropical climates. Females deposit a few eggs at a time repeatedly. The eggs develop in the brood pouch and may derive nourishment from secretions within the pouch. Eggs are pear-shaped and light orange in color and may contain one or more oil droplets. Eggs are incubated for 12-14 days in the pouch; there is no true larval period; miniature seahorses are expelled, measuring about 0.24 in (6 mm) in length. Their tails become prehensile after one day, and they become mature after three months.

CONSERVATION STATUS Listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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