Re:is this normal

#3685
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear FERS4REEF:

The behavior of your new Hippocampus reidi sounds quite normal and is probably just an indication of just how powerful the urge to reproduce is in seahorses. The genetic imperative to reproduce is very strong in Hippocampus, to say the least. For example, solitary males often go through the motions of courtship when there are no other seahorses present in their aquarium (Abbott, 2003). This includes typical courtship displays such as brightening, head tucking, tilting and quivering, and pouch displays ("pumping" and/or "ballooning"). They may court their own reflection and sometimes even direct their courtship displays toward their keepers (Abbott, 2003). If no females are present, over-stimulated stallions will sometimes soothe themselves by basking in the air stream from an airstone, content with the tactile stimulation provided by the gentle barrage of bubbles. They may even flirt with inanimate objects. If all else fails, a hitching post may actually suffice as a suitable surrogate when no better alternative is available (Abbott, 2003)!

Same-sex courting displays (both male and female) are also common when no member of the opposite sex is present. Under such circumstances, these passionate ponies are not picky about their partners — males will dance with other stallions and frustrated females will sometimes flirt with other fillies (Abbott, 2003)!

So I don’t think dancing with its reflection is anything unusual or anything you should be concerned about, FERS4REEF. Rather it’s simply an indication that your seahorse is displaying a healthy interest in courtship and breeding, and making do with its own image in the absence of any potential mates.

It is commendable that you are quarantining the new seahorse from your LFS — that’s a very sensible precaution and may save you a lot of grief in the long run. As you know, the Brazilian seahorse (H. reidi) has a well-deserved reputation for being a finicky eater, so you will need to be patient and persistent in your efforts to wean your new specimens onto frozen foods while it’s undergoing its quarantine period.

Best of luck with your seahorses, FERS4REEF! It’s good to hear that your seahorse tank is doing so well now!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna


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