Featured Image Credit: Shedd Aquarium
By: Sarah Sharkey
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago recently participated in a momentous event: a successful egg transfer between a female and male weedy sea dragon. The Shedd is the 12th institution to successfully watch this event transpire in their aquarium.
Prior to this event, there have only been 26 successful egg transfers in aquariums worldwide. It is a huge success that will hopefully lead to the production of many happy weedy sea dragon babies.
The male weedy sea dragon accepted 47 eggs from the female. He will carry the eggs on his tail for two months before they are ready to hatch. Until that point, he will offer these eggs the best possible protection.
Although it is unclear why the male weedy sea dragon takes such an active role in the care of these eggs, it is a phenomenon in nature that is marvelous to watch. Scientists have hypothesized that the split care between the mother and father allows for the animals to split the cost of reproduction, instead of the female having to use all of her resources. Other hypotheses include the idea that this practice allows females to get pregnant again sooner, which will lead to the overall production of more offspring.