Small seahorses suffer ’short man syndrome’ while pursuing tallest females

August 7th, 2009 - 5:41 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug 7 (ANI): Small male seahorses suffer from ’short man’ syndrome, as they try to pursue the tallest females for mating, according to a study from the University of Zurich.

The research was based on the courtship rituals of the big-bellied seahorse, called Hippocampus abdominalis.

The males of the species are known to give birth, so researchers had assumed that the females were in charge when it came to courtship.

However, it has now emerged that the males chase the females, and the bigger the better.

The scientists have said that they believed it was because the tallest females produced the biggest offspring, and they are more likely to survive.

But the Sea Life centre network in the UK is now continuing the research.

“They are making a purely practical choice. The largest female will produce the largest eggs, which are in turn likely to yield the biggest hatchlings with the biggest chance of surviving,” the Telegraph quoted Paul Bullimore, a marine expert from the network, as saying.

“Observations showed that the males sought out the largest females. It had always been thought that the females did the choosing.

“Experts assumed the female chose the male because it was he who was going to hatch the eggs and she wanted the best man for the job.

“But the evidence of big-bellied seahorses does not support this. It suggests the males seek out the largest females. Their courtship ritual involves entwining their tales and shooting upwards in the water in a type of dance.

“The female lays her eggs in the male’s pouch and he fertilises it and then he hatches the eggs,” he added. (ANI)

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