Courting Seahorses at the Aquarium

Love is in the air .... or rather in the water at the Aquarium!

The seahorses are courting.  Not with bunches of flowers, boxes of chocolates  or candle-lit dinners, but by a display of big inflated bellies by the seahorse males!  If the female likes what she sees, she will perform a courtship dance around the male which can involve changing colours and entwining tails!  

The local pot-bellied seahorse female lays up to 400 eggs at a time.  She deposits them in the male's pouch and the dad then raises the eggs for about 3 weeks until they are ready to be born.  At this stage the male gives birth (with contractions), and his parenting role is complete. 

The newly-hatched seahorse babies are difficult to see - they are only about 1cm tall and the thickness of a piece of thread, but they are perfectly formed and ready to fend for themselves.  Visitors to the Aquarium in the warmer months may be lucky enough to witness the courtship rituals for themselves, or even catch a glimpse of some new-born seahorses before they are released into the harbour where they stand an excellent chance of becoming adults themselves.

The Aquarium is open from 10am to 4.30pm, seven days a week, and there is a guided tour at 10.30am every day.