There are so many beautiful creatures in our oceans, and the seahorse is one of them! We want to tell you some facts about this sweet, small and mysterious creature!
WHAT IS A SEAHORSE?
- They are fish, but on the contrary to most other fish have an exo-skeleton
- There are more than 50 species of seahorses
- Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, mainly in sheltered areas with lots of seaweeds and grasses.
- Seahorses vary widely in size, they can be as small as a pumpkin seed or as large as a banana.
- They mainly eat little shrimp, fish, plankton and fish larvae
- Less than 1/1000 will become an adult due to predators
- They only live between 1-5 years
- They can camouflage to hide in its surrounding
- Their small dorsal fin beats at 30-70 times per second
- Seahorses are territorial and are very slow swimmers, in fact they can only swim about 5 feet per hour
WHAT MAKES SEAHORSES SO SPECIAL?
- They have existed for 13 million years
- They mate for life
- They don’t have a gut, so they must eat almost constantly since food passes through its digestive system so quickly
- In the breeding season, the mates come together each morning and perform elaborate mating dances.
- Being one of the very few animal species where the male carries their babies. The female depositing her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilising them internally
- The male can birth up to 1,500 fry (baby seahorse) at one time
- A male seahorse can deliver babies in the morning and be pregnant again by nightfall
- Babies are born fully formed and are completely independent of their parents
- They have excellent eyesight and their eyes work independently of each other
WHAT IS THE THREAT TO SEAHORSES?
- Except for crabs, seahorses have very few natural predators, mainly because they are too bony and indigestible
- Seahorses are in theory protected by international trade convention CITES, however are known to be traded on the black market, mainly in Asia.
- The Traditional Chinese Medicine Trade takes in excess of up to 150 million seahorses a year from the wild and these are used for all types of medicine.
- Habitat loss threatens seahorses as they inhabit shallow areas that are easily influenced by human activities
Written by the Nature Unite team