When it comes to bringing forth the next generation, it's the male seahorse who does most of the work, releasing what can only be described as an "eruption" of babies from his abdomen.

This fascinating National Geographic video shows the birth of around 2,000 mini-seahorses – talk about a devoted dad!

You might be wondering, then, why we don't just call seahorse males females, and vice versa (we’re looking at you, Jim Gaffigan). Well, female seahorses still produce the eggs, which the males carry around in pouches until the progeny are ready to enter the world. It’s similar to how a male emperor penguin sits on a mate’s eggs for months at a time: he's essentially just pulling guard duty until it's time to "evacuate" the children (yes, that's really what it's called).

A typical pregnancy lasts from ten to 25 days, and the father goes as far as regulating the salinity of the water within the pouch during this time. That said, the small "fry" are on their own from the moment they enter the big blue. And it's a tough world out there for a baby seahorse – scientists estimate that fewer than 1% survive to mate themselves!


Top header image: Mister_Jack, Flickr