Rescued seahorses thriving, procreating

Nov. 18, 2005 at 10:46 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Eight sick seahorses seized two months ago at Los Angeles airport after their flight from Vietnam are now so healthy three of them have become pregnant.

The 5-inch-long creatures, considered a threatened species, had arrived in an oxygenated water bag after their 19-hour flight. The Sea Lab in Redondo Beach, where they were sent for recuperation, had little hope of their survival.

But their care at the lab, which included a tropical 80-degree saltwater tank and a steady diet of mysid shrimp and krill, was so effective the males got busy with the three females in the batch, reports The Los Angeles Times.

And as is the custom among seahorses, the three males, which impregnated their mates, carried the females' eggs in their pouches for the three-week gestation before expelling them during labor which can last as long as 72 hours. Lab authorities would not hazard a guess as to which of the three out of five males became fathers.

At the moment, only about 25 of the ant-size babies are alive because of their high mortality rate. They are now in their own little tank so their parents won't eat them.

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