LA JOLLA, Calif. — Birch Aquarium officials Monday announced the first successful transfer of eggs from a female seadragon to a male at its Seadragons & Seahorses exhibit, calling it “an extremely rare occurrence” for them to breed in captivity.

Seadragon males are responsible for carrying eggs, which occurs only after the seadragons participate in an elaborate courtship “dance.”

“The male and female mirror each other, often with their tails curled away from their mate, and spin together snout-to-snout moving up and down in the water column. This dance is essential for the successful transfer of eggs from the female onto the male’s tail, where he then fertilizes and hosts the eggs,” the aquarium stated in a press release.

Jenn Nero Moffatt, senior Director of Animal Care, Science and Conservation, said they’ve been working with seadragons since 1996, learning “from the lighting to the rockwork” on how to strategically design to help seadragons breed.

Only a small percentage of the eggs on the male seadragon’s tail are expected to develop, according to Birch Aquarium.