- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 15 years, 6 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
November 18, 2007 at 7:27 am #1311merxMember
All 4 of our seahorses are alive and somewhat well. Originally we purchased 2 mated pairs of seahorses from Ocean Rider. We have come to realise that we only have 1 pair and 2 other males. The female is very popular while 2 of the males don\’t seem as playful and are socially withdrawn from the others. First I wanted to know if seahorses can change sex. If not we would very much like to have at least 2 mated pairs as we purchased. Please let me know how to handle this. I can send photos of all 4 of our seahorses so you can see for yourself. Your help is graetly appeciated.
GordonNovember 19, 2007 at 8:12 pm #3890Pete GiwojnaGuest
No, sir, there is no evidence to suggest that seahorses are hermaphroditic or that they can change sex the way some other marine fish (e.g., clownfish in certain wrasse) can do under certain circumstances. But it can sometimes seem that way due to late bloomers and females that have developed a "pseudo-pouch."
One of the things that can come found the issue of gender in Hippocampus is the fact that a certain percentage of females have a subanal structure that can be easily mistaken for an incipient pouch (Vincent, 1990). This is misleading because the pseudo-pouch seen on many such females is merely a pigmented patch of skin, not a functional brood pouch or even a pocket of tissue (Vincent, 1990). Although they are very often presumed to be male, at least initially, females having these subanal structures produce viable eggs, pair off with males, and mate normally just like all the other fillies.
Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) are usually shipped around the age of 5-7 months, which is about when they begin to hit sexual maturity and pair off with one another. But there is considerable variation in that regard — some precocious ponies begin to show pouch development at the tender age of 3-4 months white at the opposite end of the spectrum there may be a few late bloomers that may not develop fully functional pouches until they’re yearlings.
It’s like puberty in humans; some youngsters begin to develop while they’re still in elementary school but others don’t hit puberty until after high school. Most are somewhere in between.
Sexing such late bloomers is always problematic. As I said, the greater seahorses typically reach sexual maturity around the age of 4-6 months (Warland, 2003), so it’s natural to assume that a 6-month seahorse that lacks an obvious brood pouch is a female. Many hobbyists are therefore very surprised when a specimen they were quite certain was female suddenly develops a full-blown pouch at the age of 9-12 months. On the other hand, it’s only natural to assume that a 6-month old seahorse with a subanal patch of skin that’s colored entirely different from the rest of its abdomen is blossoming into a fine young stallion right on schedule, and it can thus be a bit of a shock to hobbyists when their presumed male drops its first clutch of eggs. More than a few aquarists have ended up renaming their seahorses when it became clear that Victoria was actually a Victor (or vice versa).
So it can sometimes appear as though seahorses change sex when a female with a pseudo-pouch produces a clutch of eggs or when a late blooming male matures into a fine stallion later than expected, but seahorses are not gender benders or hermaphroditic in nature.
If you can e-mail photographs of your four seahorses to me off list ([email protected]), I will be happy to see if I can clarify the situation for you, Gordon. I am pretty good at identifying the sex of adult seahorses, although I am lousy at sexing the juveniles. Let me take a look at the photographs and we can go from there, sir.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Gordon!
Pete GiwojnaDecember 9, 2007 at 7:37 am #3908merxGuest
Thank=you for all of your help trying to resolve this situation. It is unfortunate that Ocean Rider does not value good customer relations. They only seem to respond to emails when enquiring about a purchase. Forget trying to talk with them on the phone. I was not given the courtesy of a reply to 2 emails or from your correspondence with them. Pete, your have been terrific with your communication and common sensibilities. I value your feedback and advise.
I find it very misleading to sell a mated pair of seahorses and yet not stand behind the order when they turn out to be same sexed. The generous offer of 100 free volcanoe shrimp on my next order is insufficient enough for me to want to place another order with them. If I were to place an order for 2 more females, so that I will have 3 pairs , and the sex is not guaranteed, I am spending alot of $ hoping that I do get what I ordered. It would be a crap shoot. They would not be able to take that order in the first place due to their policies, so I am forced to go elsewhere to get the 2 females that are needed so that I have pairs of seahorses. I am sure I can find a reputable breeder that will be able to properly sex their seahorses and stand behind it. If they are sold too young to sex properly then they should be sold a little older so that when you buy a mated pair , that is what you get. Buyers Beware.
On a positive note the seahorses we did receive are all doing well with the exception of having 3 males fighting at times over the over persued female.
I hope that this is allowed to post.
MerxDecember 10, 2007 at 12:50 am #3909Pete GiwojnaGuest
If it’s any consolation, it’s good to hear that you received four fine, healthy seahorses that are thriving in your system. I’m just sorry that we weren’t able to work out a more satisfactory arrangement to compensate you for the oversight that resulted in your unbalanced sex ratio. Best of luck finding suitable females for your bachelors, sir.
You are always welcome to post here to share good news and celebrate your triumphs or for help with any problems and concerns you may have, or to contact me personally if you prefer, regardless of where you obtain your seahorses.
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