Interesting Facts about Seahorse

Did You Know:

  • -Seahorses gained international protection on May 15, 2004
  • -What do South American Spider Monkeys, Ringtail Opossums and seahorses have in common? They all have prehensile tails.
  • -Seahorses are members of the Teleost suborder, or bony fish.
  • -Seahorses usually live in the tropics or along temperate coasts.
  • -The average height of a full-grown sea horse is 2-8 inches.
  • Seahorses also vary in color, including orange, red, yellows, grey, and greens.
  • -Seahorses can come in patterns like “zebra stripes” and spots.
  • -Seahorses change color to blend in with their surroundings.
  • -Seahorses feed on small living animals such as daphnia, cyclops, larvae of water insects, or mysids.
  • -Seahorses like to swim in pairs linked by their tales.
  • -Seahorses cannot curl their tails backwards.
  • -Seahorses belong to the vertabra group, meaning they have an interior skeleton.
  • -The small dorsal fins propel it through the water in an upright position, while it beats them back and forth, almost as fast as a humming bird flapping its wings.
  • -Seahorses usually mate under a full moon.
  • -The pectoral fins control turning and steering. When resting, the seahorse curls its tail around seaweed, to keep it from floating away...
  • -Seahorse natural predators are crabs, tuna, skates and rays.
  • -Seahorses are loyal and mate for life.
  • -During mating, the Seahorses utter musical sounds.
  • -The female deposits eggs into the male’s small pouch, and then leaves. Out of the entire animal kingdom, these are the only animals in which the male has babies!
  • -Twenty-five million seahorses a year are now being traded around the world - 64 percent more than in the mid-1990s - and environmentalists are increasingly concerned that the booming trade in seahorses is putting the creatures at risk.

Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.

Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, these upright-swimming relatives of the pipefish can range in size from 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) to 14 inches (35 centimeters) long.
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 and can consume 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day.

Population data for most of the world’s 35 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.

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