An Unusual Fish Hatchery

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Among the islands of the South Pacific, there are some unusual and pretty little fish called the mouthbrooding bettas. Only three or four inches long, they are busy little fish with a most unusual way of hatching their young.
Most fish prepare a place to spawn (deposit their eggs), and then after spawning swim away and forget them. But not the faithful betta. Somehow the female fish lets the male know when she is ready to spawn. He stays close beside her and catches the eggs on the back of his fins. He is very good at this and is able to catch nearly all of them.
After spawning, the female swims to her mate and with her mouth takes one egg from his fins and approaches him as though to give him a kiss. Instead, she blows the egg into his mouth! Then she goes back for another egg, repeating this process until his mouth is stuffed with all the eggs.
My, what a mouthful he has! But, surprisingly, he doesn't swallow one of them. He casually swims around, usually for four or five days, until the eggs hatch and the baby fish swim out of his mouth.
With some species the female does the mouth-incubating after the male collects the eggs and puts them in her mouth. With other species the parent carrying the eggs has to swim around for two, three or even four weeks, waiting for them to hatch. In all betta species, both parents stay near the baby fish after they are hatched. If danger threatens, both parents open their mouths and the "small fry" promptly swim inside for safety. Of course, they soon grow too big for this hiding place and have to look after themselves.
We might ask, "When did they learn to raise their little ones this way?" The answer is that this is another example of the way in which the Lord God has instructed His creatures. God gave them instincts for this when He created them. From the very day of their creation, they have followed the pattern of life He designed for them.
His ways with men are ways of love and direction that are not known to the rest of His creation. David the psalmist, enjoying His love, declared, "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" (Psa. 139:1717How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17)). The greatest display of His love was in providing a Savior who died on Calvary's cross. There He paid the penalty for the sins of all who see their need of having their sins forgiven and accept His work in faith. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)). Have you done this?