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Teeny Tiny Baby Cardinalfish

Next time you visit Natural Encounters at the Houston Zoo, you might run into a male mouthbrooder. No, not mouth breather, mouthbrooder! In some fish, like the Banggai cardinalfish, the males take the eggs into their mouth after fertilization and incubate them through hatching.

Credit: Dale Martin, Houston Zoo



Then, the larvae are kept in the male’s mouth for 10 days after hatching and released as teeny-tiny versions of the adults!We’ve recently seen the birth of several baby cardinalfish in the aquariums inside Natural Encounters. You can spy these tiny fishes hiding in the anemones in the Coral Reef aquarium.