Take the male seahorse, Hippocampus
, who goes above and beyond any other species in the animal kingdom. He actually becomes pregnant and has his own brooding pouch. According to the Biology Department at Davidson College
, it is the female seahorse that inserts her oviduct into the male's brooding pouch and passes the eggs to the male.
The eggs are then fertilized and held in the pouch for several weeks where, says Davidson, dads "Give oxygen through a capillary network, transfer nutrients, and change the atmosphere in the pouch." When the male 'gives birth' he uses muscular contractions to expel the young.
The Emperor penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri
breeds during winter in the Antarctic. The largest penguin of them all, Emperor penguins are faithful mates and dutiful parents. Once the female has laid her egg, it is tentatively passed to the male during a dangerous transition whose sole purpose is to avoid the cold ice beneath their feet, and ultimately death.
Once the egg is passed off, the female penguin leaves and spends the entire winter feeding at sea. The male incubates the egg for almost two months, never once eating and enduring the harshest weather imaginable. The female returns to nurse the new chicks, finally releasing the father back to sea and more importantly, food. Emperor penguins were the stars of the 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary: The March of the Penguins
The Giant Water Bug, Belostomatidae
, are known colloquially as 'toe-biters' with a bite considered one of the most painful by any insect. But when it comes to bug daddies, some species of giant water bug are as impressive as they are large. The eggs of many species of giant water bugs, are laid on the male's wings and carried until they hatch.
The male giant water bug cannot unfortunately mate during this period, instead they invest their time and energy in reproduction. But the females make up for that by taking on the role of actively finding males to mate with. According to Arthur C. Huntley
M.D., one species of water bug, Lethocerus americanus
has "been known to feign death and eject a fluid from the anus" if removed from the water, even though they freely leave the water at night in search of potential mates.
The male Greater Rhea, Rhea americana
, is a flightless bird related to the ostrich. This bird is a bit of a pimp, except when it comes to fatherhood. The rhea may have his own harem of female lovelies who he prolifically mates with, but at least he builds them a nest to deposit their eggs in and when it comes to responsibility, this bird doesn't run.
Depending upon the size of his harem, the male rhea could glean as many as fifty offspring which he incubates at the egg stage and then guards ferociously after they are born, even from their own mothers.
If you've ever wondered why cockroaches are so prolific, not only can the mother lay a ton of eggs, the father takes an active role in their care. Roaches are insects of the order Blattaria or Blattodea and according to the American Museum of Natural History
, "Are thought to be about 350 million years old, making them one of the oldest surviving creatures."
A female German cockroach under the right conditions can produce 300 to 400 offspring during her lifetime, and although these insects don't quibble about what they eat, the dad does go above and beyond for his young. To provide them with an essential part of their diet – nitrogen, dad will happily eat bird droppings and carry it back to his young.
Happy Father's Day.