Rare: Aquarium sees first pregnant male seadragon

The university explained only a small percentage of the eggs will develop.
The university explained only a small percentage of the eggs will develop.(Birch Aquarium at Scripps // Jordann Tomasek)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 8:34 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LA JOLLA, Calif. (Gray News) – A female seadragon at the Birch Aquarium made an extremely rare successful transfer of eggs to a male seadragon, according to the University of California San Diego.

This is the first time a seadragon has laid eggs on the public side of the aquarium.

“We’re elated to be able to witness this at the aquarium. It’s extremely rare for seadragons to breed in captivity so this is a monumental milestone for all of our staff,” Senior Director of Animal Care Jenn Nero Moffatt said.

Moffatt explained the staff has been working with seadragons since 1996 and have learned a lot over the years, while investing a lot into the breeding program.

“From the lighting to the rockwork; everything has been strategically designed with breeding seadragons in mind,” Moffatt said in a press release.

Like seahorses, male seadragons are responsible for carrying eggs. The transfer only happens after the seadragons participate in an elaborate courtship dance, according to the university.

The male seadragon at Birch Aquarium will carry the eggs on his tail for four to six weeks until they are ready to hatch.

The university explained only a small percentage of the eggs will develop.

The Seadragons & Seahorses exhibit at Birch Aquarium features one of the largest seadragon habitats in the world.

It was designed to create an ideal environment to breed seadragons. The display is 18 feet wide, 9 feet tall and holds 5,375 gallons of water.