In June of every year, Father's Day
Without a doubt, the most famous of fishy father figures is the male seahorse. After a lengthy and elaborate courtship ritual, the female seahorse deposits several hundred eggs into the male's brood pouch using her ovipositor - the eggs mixing with seawater and spermatozoa. The male carefully carries the fertilised eggs inside his pouch for a number of weeks as they steadily develop, the pouch
Moving on to tropical freshwaters, perhaps the best-known example of paternal care is demonstrated by the male Bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus spp.). Bristlenoses are secretive cave spawners, with up to 120 amber coloured eggs being laid/fertilised in a small crevice. Once the female has deposited her eggs and the male has fertilised them, the female then plays no further part in parental care and vacates the breeding site. Meanwhile, the male tirelessly guards the eggs, continually fanning them with his pectoral fins to ensure a good flow of oxygenated water over them. After 5 days or so, the eggs will hatch into wrigglers and they will attach themselves to the décor and tank walls, finally allowing the father fish to have a rest! Meanwhile, the tiny youngsters, exact miniatures of their parents, will absorb nutrients from their yolk sacs over a period of 10-14 days, after which time they will become free-swimming.
However, possibly the most intriguing instance of male parental care is displayed by the diminutive Splash Tetra (Copella
Father’s Day (16th