There were hundreds of babies to be celebrated on Christmas day at Sea Life Centre Blackpool after a male lined seahorse gave birth.
The more than 100 babies, the first ever born at the promenade attraction, were discovered by aquarists Emma Whittle and Chris Gamble just before Christmas.
It’s good news for the species of hippo-campus erectus which is classed as ‘vulnerable’ in the wild due to loss of habitats, pollution and collection for traditional Chinese medicines.
And now they have been joined by 300 more New Year babies - a haul of Australian Big Bellied seahorse infants.
“We had just opened up and were doing our early morning round of the displays when we found all the babies,” said Emma, 24, of South Shore.
Emma and Chris have now carefully transferred the eight millimetre long babies to their own nursery tank, where they will be kept for a minimum of 16 weeks and are busy feeding on microscopic shrimp and plankton.
“In the wild only one or two in every thousand survive to reach maturity,” said Chris, 28, a senior aquarist.
“We’re hoping that the advantage of controlled environment and no predators will enable us to do much better.”
The new babies are in a quarantine area, but can be seen from the public displays area via a special observation window.
Emma, Chris and the rest of the Sea Life team are thrilled with this unexpected baby boom.
“We all think it’s really great, in the last five days, just over 500 babies have been born.
“It’s really awesome, especially considering we’ve not had any for a year,” said Scott Blacker, 33, an aquarist.
Lined seahorses can live between one and five years, reach up to six inches long and are incredibly varied in colour and pattern.
As with all seahorses, it is the male who gives birth after brooding his partners eggs in his special stomach pouch.