Seahorses are known for forming bonded pairs. Their other half in which strong relationships are formed through many mating cycles, but in the case of a seahorse losing its mating pair how does this affect them?
The death of a seahorse’s mating pair affects them significantly to the point where even the remaining half of the pair may die. This loss and newfound loneliness can result in various behavioral and mental issues. They will go through all sorts of emotional and behavioral changes leaving them stressed with a compromised immune system, which leaves them susceptible to possible death.
Seahorses are known for their romance and whimsical rituals among mating pairs. Forming a pair is no light task since both males and females must be compatible and pleasing to each other.
The bonding process involves daily greetings, rituals, flamboyance, and gestures. All these are important for the courtship process to take place.
A female just wouldn’t trust any male with her eggs, therefore a male must woo her in the form of repeated daily rituals.
Once a successful pair is formed they remain monogamous through several mating cycles, however, it’s possible that they may change partners.
However most of the time they remain in covenant with each other.
When a seahorse’s mating pair partner dies this tragically affects them to the point of no return since through the courtship process they have become tightly knit.
This loss of a mating partner has all sorts of negative effects on the remaining seahorse, some of which we will discuss later on.
How Does A Seahorse Death Affect A Mating Pair?
Now that we know the difficulty of the process of forming these mating pairs I bet it wouldn’t be easy when one tragically passes on.
A seahorse may die from various causes, however, any loss no matter the cause is a loss indeed and this will affect the remaining seahorse.
From what I’ve seen mostly domesticated seahorses are affected when their mate dies since they have adapted and have become more sociable and gregarious enjoying the company of their other half.
Once death strikes they are suddenly alone and this sudden change can result in
1. Lack of appetite.
2. Lapse into a general state of decline.
3. Depression and tension.
4. Decrease hormone secretions.
5. Change in overall behavior and personality.
6. Possible death, in extreme cases.
Sometimes the remaining seahorse can make a quick recovery and bounce from the loss. Ultimately losing a pair is not life-threatening since the remaining pair gradually acclimates and recovers well.
and may find a replacement in no time. This is seen mostly with females who are known for their polygamy and finding other suitable males are an option for them.
For male seahorses, this should take some time for them to recover from the loss of their partner but over time they are expected to make a full recovery.
Will Seahorses Mourn?
Seahorses are smart enough to display emotions which can be seen in their change in behavior. This is merely a response to whatever is happening.
They can mourn and display an expression of sadness and deep sorrow for the loss of their loved one.
In these situations, mourning will involve a change of color, probably less vibrant and darker. They will also become less active which may alter their normal functioning.
Generally, these mournful expressions leave them stressed, uncomfortable, and weary. This directly affects their health, hence compromising their immune systems.
This only negatively affects them leaving them susceptible to parasites, infections, and any health issue that they may be prone to.
A seahorse in mourning is actually such a sad thing to watch, after all these creatures are known for their love and romantic attributes shared between bonded pairs.
Do They Choose Another Mating Partner?
Seahorses just like humans and animals have the instinctive urge to procreate, even when their mating pair dies they will gradually seek a new mating pair for offspring to be produced.
However, this response is subject to the type of seahorse and breed, since some breeds remain monogamous their whole life.
It’s important to know that there is a huge difference between wild seahorses and captive-bred domesticated seahorses.
Wild seahorses are mostly monogamous in that they remain with the same partner through several mating seasons even throughout their lifespan.
This is because, in the wild, seahorses are not exposed to many of their own kind since the survival rate is extremely low. This leaves them limited to mating options.
Captive-bred seahorses on the other hand are raised in tanks with high densities of their own kind. This has made them more sociable and also more polygamous.
Therefore males and females have many options to choose from. This means with every mating cycle males and females can change partners due to preference and attractiveness.
So if you keep captive-bred seahorses, chances are that they will definitely find a bonding pair replacement after their previous pair die.
After all, they will seek new bonding pairs for the next mating cycle to continue.
Should You Find Replacements?
After all the changes that come with a loss of a mating pair, you might be thinking it’s time to introduce a replacement to provide some company.
While finding a replacement could be an option for the lonely remaining seahorse, doing it too soon may negatively affect them.
I think you should allow for the remaining seahorse to adapt to the changes. This will help with mental stability and function.
You don’t want to bombard this little creature with more stress as well as the challenges that come with a new tank mate.
So to conclude, it’s good to find a replacement if the seahorse is in a tank alone but allow for some time for proper adapting and acclimation before you introduce a new mate.
In tanks where there are a group of seahorses, you don’t need replacements since new pairs can be formed with existing seahorses.
Safety Measures To Implement.
After any death within an aquarium especially when it involves seahorses it’s wise to run all sorts of tests to make sure that all parameters are within the safe range.
Most of the time death amongst seahorses is caused by bacterial or fungal infections which is merely a result of bad maintenance.
Before adding any new additions to a tank, or making any such changes make sure that all factors are constant.
Ensure that water quality is maintained and the system you are using is good enough for proper functioning.
Carefully and safely monitor the dead seahorse for signs of infection, parasites, and health issues that may have caused its death.
This will help diagnose any infection outbreaks giving you time to quarantine the remaining tank mates before any possible new additions.