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5 Weird and Wonderful Animal Life Cycles

A life cycle shows the different stages of development for a living thing! From the moment we’re born to the moment we die, we are in a life cycle. From infancy, every living thing grows, going through stages before reaching adulthood and eventually dying.

5 Weird and Wonderful Animal Life Cycles

Surinam Toad

Surinam toad lays eggs, and the male places them on the female’s back. She then proceeds to grow a skin up and over the eggs, incubating them until they hatch. At this stage, the little babies wiggle out of the mum's back. As much as other biologists say it’s a beautiful process, I will let you decide!


This one might not come as a surprise that it is on the list! Seahorses are the only species where the male gives birth. After a very elaborate courtship of dancing and competing for the female's attention, the female transfers her eggs to the male pouch for him to fertilise. In 2 - 6 weeks, 5 -1500 babies (species dependant) are ready to leave through a series of contractions.


Monotremes are egg-laying mammals - this group includes the duck-billed platypus and four species of echidna. Monotremes are now endemic to Australia and New Guinea - it's thought that they used to be more widespread. Puggles hatch from their eggs around ten days after laying. Another strange fact is that monotremes don't nurse like placental mammals, monotremes lactate via openings in their skin.

Adactylidium Mites

The lifecycle of adactylidium mites is bizarre and slightly disturbing. Pregnant mothers are eaten alive by the larvae as they make their way into the world. Each gives 'birth' to several females and a single male. Females are born pregnant - they mate with the male inside their

mother. Once born males die almost straight away, while females give birth around four days later.


Did you know that clownfish can change gender? When clownfish are born, they are gender-neutral - all clownfish are hermaphrodites and will become male in the juvenile stage. The clownfish school is run by a dominant female, the largest of the group. The second-largest is the dominant male. If something happened to the dominant female, the dominant male would switch genders. These fish are monogamous - if two males become partners, the more dominant will become female to mate.

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