Amazing sea creatures: Seahorse
The seahorses (genus Hippocampus) are one of the oceans weirdest looking fish. The got their name for their resemblance with a horse. In oppose to normal shaped fish the seahorse does not look like it is made to swim fast, and it doesn’t. The seahorses moves around slowly using its small fins at the side of their body. The seahorse lives in sea grass and can adopt camouflage colors to stay well hidden. When seahorses encounter other seahorses they adopt more brighter colors (orange, yellow or pink). The seahorses are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters at many places on earth, there are even colonies that live in European waters. Seahorses can even be found in England.
Seahorses are modified pipefish as can be seen from their similar anatomy, but is also supported by genetic evidence. Not much seahorse fossils are found so why and when the seahorses evolved from the pipefish is not known.
The seahorse feeds on small crustaceans, either floating around or on the ocean floor. With their camouflage their prey doe not see them and they wait until the small creatures are within their range to strike out with their snout. The mysid shrimp is the crustacean which is most eaten by the seahorse, but when the seahorses cannot find this shrimp they also eat larval fish or other shrimp. The seahorses are preyed upon by crabs, big fish (tuna for example) and rays. The use their camouflage in the grass and other sea plants to avoid being eaten.
Reversed parenting roles
Another remarkable feature of the seahorse is that the male carries around the eggs until they hatch. They have a brood pouch in which he can carry up to 1500 eggs at once. The females, after they have laid their eggs in the males brood pouch do not take further care of the male or the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, tiny fully developed sea horses emerge from the males brood pouch. After the juvenile seahorses have left the pouch the male does not take further care of them. A lot will be eaten and only the strongest of the hundreds of baby seahorses will survive.
Here’s a list with some remarkable seahorse species:
Satomi's pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus satomiae)
This is the smallest species of seahorse, it’s only about 13 millimeters in length, these little seahorses attach themselves to coral with their tail and wait for zooplankton to drift by to eat.
Bullneck Seahorse (Hippocampus minotaur)
This rare seahorse looks more like a bull, with its short snout and thick neck, than like a horse.
Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti)
These seahorses are the best camouflaged seahorses, they have tiny tubercles on their body which change color. They live around coral which has balls on them and when hanging still they can be almost invisible. As an example there is a photo of a pygmy seahorse at the bottom of this article, can you find the seahorse?
Thorny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix)
The thorny seahorse is different from the other species of seahorses because they have as teir name implies thorns over their body, this not only makes them look amazing it is a defence against their predators.
Where's the seahorse?
Seahorse and their shape
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