GREEN

Weedy Sea Dragon Babies At SeaWorld Orlando (PHOTOS)

07/30/2012 12:40 pm ET

It's a birth for the books!

A weedy sea dragon father has hatched his first babies at SeaWorld Orlando. Yep, you read that right — we said his.

Male weedy sea dragons, which are found in tropical coastal waters off Australia, are the ones in charge of bearing young, just like the closely related sea horse.

According to SeaWorld, here's how it works: "The female deposits the eggs onto a spongy patch found on the underside of the male’s tail. The eggs are fertilized during this transfer and remain on their father for the next five to nine weeks. Dad is responsible for incubation and care of the eggs until they reach full term."

Truly Unique Aquarium Feat

This birth marks the first time that weedy sea dragon eggs have successfully hatched at SeaWorld. In fact, only three other aquariums in the U.S. have successfully bred the protected species, which has experienced a dramatic population drop due to human invasion and pollution.

And these babies are just the beginning: The female laid close to 100 eggs in June, which will hatch over the next couple of weeks.

Visitors can get a glimpse of the baby sea dragons within SeaWorld Orlando's Manta exhibit.

PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS BELOW COURTESY OF SEAWORLD:
weedy sea dragon babies
Nearly 100 small, pinkish eggs adorn a male weedy sea dragon, who is responsible for bearing young.

weedy sea dragon babies
The weedy sea dragon eggs remain on father for five to nine weeks until they hatch.

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