Re:Delays in birthing brood?

Pete Giwojna

Dear Ann Marie::

Congratulations on your newborn Hippocampus erectus!

Yes, it’s quite possible that the first 5 offspring your gravid male delivered are only the opening salvo and that there may be more fry forthcoming within the next day or two. It is not that unusual for a gravid male to release a fraction of his brood a bit prematurely, only to shut down operations temporarily and then deliver the rest of the young normally a few days later. When that’s the case, the remainder of the brood is typically released en masse 2-4 days after the first batch of fry were expelled.

In your case, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more babies on the way, since the typical brood size for a mature male erectus ranges from about 100-800 young. However, virgin males and inexperienced breeders often produce inordinately small broods during their first few attempts at meeting, so all bets are off if this is the male’s first pregnancy. It is normal for a gravid male’s respiration rate to increase during labor and when parturition is imminent, and it therefore sounds to me like your stallion will be producing more young anytime now.

In short, Ann Marie, you shouldn’t be concerned at this point. Your stud is probably not done delivering his brood and it is perfectly normal for his breathing rate to be somewhat elevated and for him to be experienced periodic contractions until the birthing process is complete. It’s not unusual for broody males to be lethargic or to go off their feed and miss a meal or two.

All you need to do now is to keep a close eye on your male and keep the female where he can see her, and make sure you keep the dissolved oxygen levels in your seahorse tank nice and high. Please keep us posted and let us know how everything turns out.

Best of luck with those first five erectus fry, Ann Marie. Here’s hoping they are soon joined by the rest of their brothers and sisters and that your stallion is none the worse for wear after delivering the remainder of his brood.

Pete Giwojna

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