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RIP: Rare baby conjoined seahorse twins at B-CU research lab die after beating the odds

Dwarf seahorse twins named ’Bethune’ and ’Cookman’ lived 15 days

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A miracle of Mother Nature was just what we needed amid a global pandemic, but when rare conjoined twin seahorse babies were born in August at the Bethune Cookman University Aquatic Research Laboratory even that reprieve was short lived, because it’s 2020.

Dr. Sarah Krejci, assistant professor of biology and environmental sciences, reported the conjoined dwarf seahorse twins were born Aug. 17. The little babies made it 15 days before Krejci and her students discovered they had died.

The lab was tracking the health of the twins closely because the “presence of conjoined seahorse twins is a very rare occurrence” and “even in previous reported cases, none made it past their first day of life,” according to the lab’s blog.

The tiny sea monsters were first discovered in the lab by undergraduate researcher Cameron Eskew, and the students named them “Bethune” and “Cookman.”

Conjoin twin dwarf seahorses, Bethune and Cookman at B-CU Aquatic Research Lab. The rare pair lived from Aug. 17, 2020 to Sept. 2, 2020. (Images:B-CU)
Conjoin twin dwarf seahorses, Bethune and Cookman at B-CU Aquatic Research Lab. The rare pair lived from Aug. 17, 2020 to Sept. 2, 2020. (Images:B-CU) (WKMG 2020)

Krejci said it was possible the twins were joined at the bony plates under their skin and did not share any organs.

“We are blessed to have had this opportunity to study these seahorses for as long as we could,” researchers wrote in the blog post announcing their deaths. “Every day they survived was a cause for celebration and we are grateful for everyone that took interest in them.”

Krejci plans to conduct a detailed necropsy to understand more about the twin’s internal anatomy and why they died.

RIP, little ones. Relive the tiny seahorses in all of their wonder and learn more about the research happening at the Aquatic lab here.


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