Seahorse Monogamy, Sort Of
A few years ago we did a Creation Moments program about the amazing fact that male seahorses, not the females, hatch the young and are solely responsible for their nurture. New research now tells us more about the relationship between the male and female seahorse. One of the surprises is that the female seahorse practices a limited form of monogamy.
An individual male seahorse will range over only about a square yard of area. However, his mate will range over 100 times that area. Although she isn't much of a homebody, she remains faithful to her mate during his entire pregnancy, greeting him each morning by joining him and flashing different colors. It turns out that this greeting ritual is very important. In the laboratory, researchers placed one female and two males in the same tank. After the mating ritual, the female deposited typically 200 eggs in the egg pouch of the male she selected. He was then moved to another tank until his two-week gestation was completed. During the entire time, the female greeted the remaining seahorse each morning, but no attempts at mating took place. However, when the male she selected for mating was returned to the tank and the mating ritual began again, she always chose the male she had greeted each morning during the other's absence in the birthing tank.
Monogamy is not a product of evolution or human culture. It is a gift of God, Who created seahorses, people and all things.
Notes: Science News, 3/11/00, pp. 168-170, "Pregnant and still macho." Photo: Courtesy of Hlucho. (CC BY-SA 3.0).
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