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Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2
   

Seahorse Nursery

 
     

It’s a good thing baby seahorses don’t require diapers, since the male (yes, “male”) Pacific Seahorse at UCSD’s Birch Aquarium gave birth to 640 of them this past summer.

The babies that survived the first crucial weeks were raised within the aquarium’s award-winning Seahorse Propagation Program. Generations of seahorse babies that grow up at Birch Aquarium are showcased onsite, but they are also shared with aquariums and zoos all over the world—all part of an effort to reduce the pressure to collect seahorses from the wild.

 

In February, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Seahorse Propagation Program. Over the years, aquarists have successfully raised 12 species of seahorses and shipped more than 3,000 specimens to 65 aquariums and zoos. Recent additions include 10 ribboned seadragons, an elusive seahorse species.

 

 “We learn more about how these animals thrive with each new species that we care for,” Birch Aquarium assistant curator Leslee Matsushige says. “That knowledge, in turn, is shared with aquarists throughout the field, and efforts to protect the animals are improved worldwide.

Contributors to Making Waves: Kim Edwards, Tiffany Fox, Raymond Hardie, Pat JaCoby, Annie Reisewitz

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