Every third Sunday in June, we celebrate Father’s Day. It’s a day for human dads, but animal dads deserve their due too!
One extreme animal dad is the seahorse. It’s the male, not the female, that becomes pregnant and gives birth. The process starts with a mating dance, where the pair swims from the ocean floor toward the surface. The dance ends when the female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch. This is a pocket of skin on the male’s belly. There, the eggs are fertilized and develop. It takes from 9 to 45 days for the eggs to hatch, depending on the species and the water temperature.
When it’s time to give birth, the male seahorse spews baby seahorses into the water. But that’s where a dad seahorse’s duties end. “In fact, if the babies hang around for too long, the dad will eat them!” says Camilla Whittington, a biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia. Turn the page to meet three other amazing animal dads!