Image: Anna P.
When the seahorse fry are ready to be born, somewhere between 10 to 25 days after the eggs are laid, the male seahorse’s muscles begin to contract to push them out of the pouch. He holds onto something, like a strand of seagrass, and starts to twist himself around to expel the fry until his pouch is empty. This process can take hours!
Unfortunately, any fry left in the pouch are bad news for dad, as it is thought they die and rot – meaning male seahorse can suffer infections and die. Another theory behind this condition is that during the mating ritual, tiny bubbles containing bacterial infections can enter the pouch.