20 Interesting Seahorse Facts

Today we’ll tackle seahorses. There are a lot of interesting facts about these adorable sea creatures. We will explore each of them in this article:

  1. The seahorse has a particular Latin name: Hippocampus. In English, this term means horse caterpillar;
  2. Seahorses belong to the Family Syngnathidae;
  3. This tiny animal is, in fact, a fish. It belongs to a class called Actinopterygii. Which translates as “bony fish”. This is due to the following: a seahorse lives in water and it has a swim bladder. Also, seahorses have gills through which they breathe underwater;
  4. The seahorse is 0.6-14 in (1.5-35 cm) in size;
  5. The thing that gives a seahorse its name is the animal’s horse-like shape. Its exoskeleton is a particular trait of this creature. There are no scales on a seahorse’s body. Instead, it has a body which contains bony plates. Each of these is made of a hard material;sea-horse
  6. Seahorses can avoid predators by changing their bodies’ colors. This will happen even when debris is in the water. Camouflage is also helped by something known as “cirri.” This is an appendage made of flesh and it’s developed by the seahorse itself. With this appendage, the creature resembles seaweed;
  7. Their snouts (which is another word for “beak”) point down. They’re also thin and long. This makes it easy to look for food. Depending on the size of the seahorse’s prey, the snout will either expand or remain at its usual size. In fact the snout is used as a vacuum cleaner when food is found;
  8. Seahorses have necks, too;
  9. Their tails look like a snake and they’re prehensile. When there are strong waves, a seahorse will use its tail to securely hold onto weeds. They protect themselves the same way when strong currents are involved;
  10. There are no fins on these tails; but they have fins somewhere else. You can find one on each of their cheeks; then there’s one under their bellies and another one at their tails’ bases;
  11. The eyes of a seahorse do a great job. They resemble a chameleon’s eyes; which means that the seahorse is able to look backwards and also forwards at the exact same time;
  12. You’ll find seahorses in many places. The sort of habitat they prefer is this: shallow tropical and temperate waters. They love seagrass, and coral reefs. A seahorse will also enjoy a mangrove forest. If the weather turns cold, they’ll locate to deeper waters;
  13. There are 2 important species in Great Britain. One of them is called Short Snouted Seahorse; the other’s known as Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix);

    Spiny-Seahorse

    Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix)

  14. The World Register of Marine Species has recorded 53 seahorse species so far;
  15. The diet of a seahorse consists of many things. You’ll find them feeding on crustaceans of small sizes, and plankton. They have a large appetite. A baby seahorse alone consumes 3,000 of food each day; its parent will eat 30-50 brine shrimp and plankton per day. They eat this much and all the time because their bodies don’t contain stomachs; and there are no teeth to chew with. As a result, any food they eat passes their bodies at a very fast rate. They’d die if they wouldn’t eat constantly;
  16. Seahorses in a group are called a “herd.”;
  17. A male seahorse doesn’t usually mate with a lot of females. Many bond for life and a courtship display is always complex. As soon as they see each other, their bodies’ colors change. This courtship can take 1 hour to finish;
  18. Another interesting fact: the female’s eggs will then be moved to the male’s brood pouch. There, the eggs will be fertilized by him. There’s no other animal to have this kind of “true reversed pregnancy”;
  19. The gestation can last a couple of weeks. When it’s over, the male gets contractions. Baby seahorses (or “fry”) are released over a period of several minutes to a couple of hours (or more). After the male seahorse has given birth, the fry will be similar to its parents, but in miniature. Large seahorses can lay 1,500 eggs; small species lay 50-150 eggs;
  20. Seahorses aren’t great swimmers. That’s due to the shape of their bodies. The fin on a seahorse’s back is used for propelling. Even if they don’t swim that well, seahorses can steer themselves really well.

Another very important fact about seahorses: many Asians use them in traditional medicine. This makes the creatures threatened with extinction. But this isn’t the only reason seahorses are endangered. They’re sold as aquarium pets or souvenirs (especially by the Curio Trade). A seahorse kept in an aquarium will die painfully and slowly.

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