Re:Trying to impress the females

Pete Giwojna

Dear Amanda:

Yup, it sounds like Sunny, your young male Hippocampus reidi, is definitely strutting his stuff! You are describing classic courtship behavior, and Sunny is promenading, performing one of the dancelike mating rituals that Hippocampus is famous for. He is indeed flirting with the females, in essence extending an invitation to the ladies to dance with him.

Actually, H. erectus and H. reidi are among the few species that are known to cross breed on occasion. They coexist in parts of their range in the wild, and although it is relatively uncommon, erectus and reidi can hybridize and produce viable young.

Sunny may be flirting with both the females from time to time right now, increasing his chances for success by romancing both the erectus female and the reidi filly at the same time, but it sounds like only Cher, the reidi female, is accepting his dance invitations. So Cher appears to be the receptive female at the moment, and if a mating eventually results, she will probably be the one to give him her eggs, which is what you would expect. (If the female H. erectus dropped a clutch of eggs while in the shipping bag en route, she will not be ready to mate again until the next breeding cycle, which will be about four weeks from when she dropped her eggs.)

Best of luck with your prolific ponies, Amanda! Here’s hoping they produce some healthy broods of young for you before you know it.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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