How do Male Seahorses give Birth? Study Unlocks Genetic Key to Male Pregnancy

The division of labor between reproduction, embryonic development, and subsequent offspring varies wildly among marine animals. On the one hand, you’re living life with a female octopus dutti to starve to death, because she’s leaning towards her young man (possibly as a way to make sure he doesn’t eat them), the female sea horse takes something more backward. For this bran fish, it is the male sea that is pregnant. First, reproduction for sea horses is a quick recovery. After finding a mate, a female will deposit her eggs in specialized bags in the male body.

After the eggs are hatched, they fertilize them with sperm before they hatch for about 24 days during development. Giving birth to a male sea horse is quite a spectacular thing, it must be said. Far from the slow and narrow entrance that humans have made to the earth, baby sea horses fall into existence like bubbles from a bubble gun. Thousands of babies can be born from a single pregnancy, drowning in paternity for the expectant father. 

This method of breeding is unique to seahorses and their close relatives, as they are the only known example of a species where it carries, conceives, and gives birth to offspring, despite being independently developed more than one and a half hundred times after birth. Pregnancy in any situation is complex processes in which the body must not be identified as a foreign object and accordingly learn to support the developing offspring without getting rid of it. 

Although embryos are made from the genetic material of the parents, sexual reproduction means that it is a mixture of oneself and their partner and therefore embryos appear as invaders of intent and purpose. Mammals were able to suppress the resistance of their immune system by down-controlling two large histopability complex pathways known as MHC I and II.

But the knowledge train has stalled a bit here because we are unable to observe and recreate any such internal birth process. Fortunately, the Singanaths (fish families sitting between seahorses and pipefish) present a sliding scale of pregnancy from the external to the internal system, providing a better opportunity to observe what is going on.