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Seahorse

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Seahorse
7358960 72e97a072c.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
  • Big-belly seahorse (H. abdominalis)

Winged seahorse, Hippocampus alatus West African seahorse, Hippocampus algiricus Narrow-bellied seahorse, Hippocampus angustus Barbour's seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri Pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus bargibanti False-eyed seahorse, Hippocampus biocellatus Réunion seahorse, Hippocampus borboniensis Short-head seahorse, Hippocampus breviceps Giraffe seahorse, Hippocampus camelopardalis Knysna seahorse, Hippocampus capensis Hippocampus colemani Tiger tail seahorse, Hippocampus comes Hippocampus coronatus Denise's pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus denise Lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Fisher's seahorse, Hippocampus fisheri Sea pony, Hippocampus fuscus Big-head seahorse, Hippocampus grandiceps Long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus Eastern spiny seahorse, Hippocampus hendriki Short-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus Thorny seahorse, Hippocampus histrix Pacific seahorse, Hippocampus ingens Jayakar's seahorse, Hippocampus jayakari Collared seahorse, Hippocampus jugumus Great seahorse, Hippocampus kelloggi Spotted seahorse, Hippocampus kuda Lichtenstein's Seahorse, Hippocampus lichtensteinii Bullneck seahorse, Hippocampus minotaur Japanese seahorse, Hippocampus mohnikei Monte Bello seahorse, Hippocampus montebelloensis Northern spiny seahorse, Hippocampus multispinus High-crown seahorse, Hippocampus procerus Queensland seahorse, Hippocampus queenslandicus Longsnout seahorse, Hippocampus reidi Half-spined seahorse, Hippocampus semispinosus Dhiho's seahorse, Hippocampus sindonis Hedgehog seahorse, Hippocampus spinosissimus West Australian seahorse, Hippocampus subelongatus Longnose seahorse, Hippocampus trimaculatus White's seahorse, Hippocampus whitei Zebra seahorse, Hippocampus zebra Dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae Pippin seahorse, Hippocampus eihpos

For other uses, see Hippocampus (disambiguation).

Seahorses are one of God’s most interesting and remarkable creatures. They almost seem unreal, as if they came from a fantasy land with their curious body structure.

There are at least thirty-five known species of seahorses. Fourteen of the known species are found in Australia. Depending on the species, they can range from one-fourth of an inch to over a foot in length.[1]

Many people don't know that sea horses are often mistaken for sea dragons. Sea dragons are different from sea horses. Sea dragons blend a lot better into the environment than sea horses because they have leafy protrusions that camouflage them with the leafy plants in the scenery.

Anatomy

basic anatomy of a seahorse

The general appearance of a seahorse consists of having a long horse-like head and a curled tail. Seahorses swim upright with their tails down and their heads up, but they have also been seen swimming horizontally when chasing after food or escaping danger.[2]

Seahorses are special in that each eye can move separately just like a chameleon. Their pectoral fins control turning and steering, and their dorsal fins make the fish move forward. They have a coronet on their head that are as distinct as fingerprints.

Reproduction

pregnant male seahorse

The reproduction of seahorses is different than any other animal because it's the male who gets pregnant in the relationship-not the female.

Seahorses have monogamous relationships, where they have the same partner who they bond to all season long. They go through a mating ritual in which both sexes change color and twist and dance together. They coil tails and appear to kiss each other. Seahorses make musical sounds while mating.[3]

After the dance, the female will insert an ovipositor, a tubular organ used to deposit eggs, into the male's brooding pouch. Then the male fertilizes the eggs. The eggs will be in the brood pouch about four to six weeks before they are born. There can be up to 250 fully developed seahorses that are born from the brood pouch.

The male will fight for his female, like many other animals. He will coil around the intruding male and drag him across the ground, and bite him until the intruder retreats. The relationship between the female seahorse and the male seahorse appears to be loving. Every morning, the couple does a shortened version of the mating dance before departing for the rest of the day.

Ecology

Seahorses live all over the world in temperate and tropical waters, and live in coral reefs and sea grass beds. Some inhabit brackish or shallow freshwater habitat. They prefer sheltered areas and are well camouflaged.

Seahorses wait for their prey to come to them. They sit camouflaged with the background until the prey comes near. Then they will suck them up into their mouth and swallow them whole.

Seahorses as Cures

Seahorses are dried up and sold all over the world as souvenirs and also as a type of "cure" for many problems such as asthma, impotence and general lethargy. They are being sold in mass numbers, and millions of seahorses are being killed all over the world every year.

Gallery

Related References