BABY seahorses were put on display at Macduff Marine Aquarium last weekend as part of celebratory events throughout Aberdeenshire with the theme New Year, New You, New Us.
The aquarium has successfully raised four baby native spiny seahorses, after their adult male seahorse gave birth for the first time last summer.
A weekend of celebratory events took place on January 26 and 27 following the launch of Aberdeenshire Council's Live Life Aberdeenshire, the new name for the council's sports and culture services, now being run as a unique business unit.
Macduff Marine Aquarium joined the fun by giving visitors the chance to meet the new additions to the seahorse family.
Since June last year, the seahorse babies have been off exhibit in a bespoke nursery tank.
With a one in 2000 chance of survival to adulthood, the baby seahorses have had round-the-clock attention from the aquarium husbandry team, with special food and an intense feeding regime.
They have grown from around 6mm at birth to 6cm long – although they still have a way to go as the adults are about twice the size.
At nearly seven months old, they are ready to join their parents – to be reunited with their dad and meet their mum for the first time.
Aquarium displays officer, Chris Rowe, said: "The success rate for rearing this species of seahorse in captivity is pretty low and we are one of only a few institutions in whole of the UK that have successfully managed to raise some fry to this stage.
"The youngsters are happily feeding on nutritious brine shrimp and are now accustomed to taking on the same food that is on the menu for their parents, so we're confident they are ready, at last, to be taken out on public display.
"It has been a new experience for us, and a steep learning curve, but we're chuffed to bits to have succeeded with these little guys.
"We will wait and see if dad gets pregnant again this spring, and if so then we'll have a chance to do it all again."
The aquarium welcomes around 50,000 visitors per year.