“Pregnant” Pipefish Fathers Not Always Nurturing

Bay pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus) in the Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco, CA. Image credit: Tewy/Wikipedia

A new study shows that “pregnant” pipefish fathers absorb some of their offspring.  Pipefish, cousins to the seahorse, typically live in warm seas among sea grasses.  After conception, the fertilized eggs are passed from the female to the male pipefish.  The male pipefish nourishes them in a pouch until they emerge fully formed.  The study discovered that some of those embryos are absorbed by the males.  Researchers speculate that males who are undernourished sacrifice some of the embryos so that the rest are able to survive.

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