Celebrating fishy fathers

Clownfish at Blue Reef Aquarium
Clownfish at Blue Reef Aquarium

FROM seahorses to clownfish, staff at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium are paying tribute to some of the aquatic world’s best dads as part of a celebration of Father’s Day.

This weekend, talks and activities will draw attention to some of the aquarium’s hardest-working dads and, on Father’s Day itself, all dads will get in for free, when accompanied by two full paying children.

Blue Reef Aquarium’s Chris Ireland said: “We always celebrate Mother’s Day so we thought it was only fair that fishy fathers should also get some recognition.

“In some cases it’s the males that actually do most of the hard work when it comes to looking after the babies.”

Clownfish lay their eggs among the tentacles of stinging anemones for protection. The attentive males carefully fan the eggs using their fins and will often manoeuvre the anemone’s tentacles to provide a protective canopy above the developing fish.

The fishy world’s most famous fathers are members of the seahorse, and closely related pipefish, families.

They are virtually unique in the animal kingdom in that it is the male rather than the female which carries the babies and gives birth to them.

Pregnant males eventually ‘give birth’ to the tiny replicas of the adults after about a month, depending on the species. Some species can give birth to up to 1,500 babies at any one time.