|The seahorse is a group of marine fish in the genus Hippocampus. In Ancient Greek, hippos means horse and campus means sea monster. Its resemblance to the horse is uncanny, but that’s also where the likeness ends – they are not related by blood. Let’s delve into some fun facts about the spotted seahorse, the Hippocampus kuda.
- Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems so quickly, they must eat almost constantly to stay alive.
- Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous. They pick one mate and stick with it, till death do they part.
- For the spotted seahorse, the males carry the young. Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their ventral, or front-facing, side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilizes them internally. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.
- Because of their body shape, seahorses are rather inept swimmers and can easily die of exhaustion when caught in storm-roiled seas. They propel themselves by using a small fin on their back that flutters up to 35 times per second. Even smaller pectoral fins located near the back of the head are used for steering.
- They anchor themselves with their prehensile tails to sea grasses and corals, using their elongated snouts to suck in plankton and small crustaceans that drift by. Voracious eaters, they graze continually. The way their head is shaped helps them in getting prey – the narrow, elongated and rounded snout creates less disturbance as they go after their prey.
- Population data for most of the world’s seahorse species is sparse. However, worldwide coastal habitat depletion, pollution, and rampant harvesting, mainly for use in Asian traditional medicine, have made several species vulnerable to extinction.
Other marine animal facts.
The Spotted Seahorse
Shallow coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific
Up to 35cm