The Critical 'I'

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Saturday, December 27, 2003

If you're in Chicago during this next week, you may want to swing by the Shedd Aquarium for the final days of its acclaimed Seahorse Symphony. Shedd has pulled off what many experts considered impossible: They kept a couple of dozen seahorses alive for over five years, instead of the customary 2-4 months usually associated with captivity.

Aside from their interesting look, seahorses also have unusual gender roles:

Many Shedd visitors are taken by the fact that seahorses are the only species in which the male gets pregnant. Seahorses also perform an elaborate courtship ritual in which the male dances around the female, often for several hours.

"Women really like this," Mitchell said of the male's romantic routine. "I would say it's the perfect man. He's at home, he gets pregnant and he dances every day. What more could a woman want in a mate than that?"