Seahorses, Sea Dragons and Pipefish: Meet Male Animals That Gives Birth

Male pregnancy among humans is a concept often portrayed only in science fiction and other forms of popular culture. After all, biologists tell us that only natural females are capable of getting pregnant and giving birth.

While there are instances of birth from asexual reproduction across the animal kingdom, male animals, including humans, are not known to undergo labor and give birth to a child, at least that is what we know.

However, male animals that give birth turn out to be a reality rather than fiction, as scientists have recorded in previous years that male seahorses and male creatures are capable of delivering a baby.

The exact mechanisms behind this biological phenomenon remain a mystery, especially since they do not apply to all male species in the kingdom Animalia. Without human intervention, evidence shows that several male animals are capable of this.

Male Animals That Give Birth

Seahorses, Sea Dragons and Pipefish: Meet Male Animals That Gives Birth
(Photo : Photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

Amidst technological advancement in the field of science, male pregnancy is becoming more common than one might think, according to Healthline. This phenomenon involves the incubation of one or more embryos or fetuses by male sex organisms in some species. Since most species reproduce through sexual intercourse, scientific evidence still asserts that it is impossible for natural male Homo sapiens to get pregnant.

Yet, the case is different for other male animals, which can make male pregnancy a reality even without the use of genetic experiments or related procedures by humans. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seahorses and their close relatives such as sea dragons are the only species of male animals that gives birth. This confirms that evolution works in mysterious ways.

Also Read: Virgin Birth Now Possible for Fruit Flies as Genetic Engineering Induce Parthenogenesis

Seahorses, Sea Dragons and Pipefish

The NOAA explains that seahorses, which are members of the pipefish family, possess unique attributes such as having specialized structures within their skin cells. Still, male seahorses and sea dragons truly gained fame for their remarkable ability to get pregnant and bear young. In the case of seahorses, a female seahorse transfers her mature eggs into the male’s brood pouch, where the eggs are fertilized.

In addition, pipefish is one of the male animals among seahorses and sea dragons that give birth. Other than these animals, there has been no record of male animals, including male mammals, that can give birth by natural means. In a 2023 research paper, scientists used seahorse male pregnancy as a conceptual model to further examine pregnancy, immune adaptations, and environmental effects.

Aside from male animals that give birth, the animal kingdom has also witnessed the unusual phenomenon of “virgin birth” or officially known as “parthenogenesis” in some animal species. In recent years, scientists have found this phenomenon to occur in crocodiles, sharks, Komodo dragons, stick insects, and even the microscopic tardigrades. Parthenogenesis pertains to the occurrence of birth when an embryo develops from an unfertilized egg cell.

Related Article: Male Seahorses Are the Only Animals to Get Pregnant and Give Birth

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