Wondered what a seahorse is and how it got its name? A horse sea creature it may seem but it’s a fish, that is. Learn more about this exciting fish and its remarkable life in the sea world.
A seahorse is after all a fish. It has been given such a name because of its head that resembles the head of a horse. Below is a plethora of information about this interesting fish.
Size and Appearance
A seahorse size can range from .6 to 14 inches or 1.5 to 35.5 cm. It does not have scales covering but have bony plates wrapping its body. Seahorse shows different colors like orange, white, red and green to conceal itself, as a way of protection.
Below are the various bodily parts of a seahorse:
Eyes – these are capable of being in motion in various directions.
Coronet – this is a crown found on top of most seahorses’ head.
Snout – this is likened to a straw, which is designed for getting food.
Gills – are used in obtaining oxygen for breathing purpose.
Fins – seahorses have one dorsal fin and two pectoral fins found on both sides of their neck. These fins enable the seahorses to swim.
Tail – the tails of seahorses are curly and are used for holding on to seaweed branches.
Seahorses are typically found in various parts of the world but are mostly located in shallow and moderate waters. They have better preference for cozy abode like coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.
As seahorses prefer tropical waters, they are widespread in the Philippines specifically in various diving sites in Cabilao Island. The most common are the Pygmy seahorses found in the Lighthouse dive site, while the ones with color variation along with the Denise’s Pygmy seahorses are situated in Gorgonia wall diving site. Here are some photos for your reference:
Types of Seahorse
There are about 54 documented species under the genus Hippocampus. To name five out of the many types, they are as follows:
1. Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) – it is one of the newest recognized seahorse specie. Its size is about ¾ to 1 inch and would normally blend their colors with their surroundings. Since they are very small, they need to secure themselves to corals, plants and animals. The male pygmies do not have pouches yet they are still able to incubate the eggs using their cavities found in their trunks.
2. Denise’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise) – this type of seahorse is renowned as the master in terms of camouflaging. It easily matches with stems and other sea hosts. This seahorse is very fragile due to its tiny structure. Its size is just about less than 2cm.
3. Big-belly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) – the big-belly seahorse is also called pot belly seahorse. Although, this seahorse specie is one of the most loved and most admired by seahorse enthusiasts, however, they are difficult to take care of in relation to food, surrounding temperature, and environment. This specie is well used by Chinese for medicinal reasons.
4. Tiger tail seahorse (hippocampus comes) – it is about 6 inches and is usually yellow in color with tiger-like design on its tail. It chooses to be motionless so it prefers to attach its tail with immobile hosts.
5. Crowned Seahorse (Hippocampus coronatus) – this seahorse is made up of long and slim body. It is considered as one of the weak swimmers thus it anchors itself with seaweed. It has a brood pouch used for incubating eggs. It would have about 70 baby seahorses all together in one hatching time.
Seahorses’ food supply comes from plankton, fish and shrimp. With the use of their snouts, they feed by sucking their food.
The male seahorses take part in the incubation process. Once the female seahorses lay the eggs in the male’s pouches, which are about 2,000 total, the eggs are kept there for about 6 weeks to afford time for those to be fertilized. After this period, the male would attach its tail to seaweed or plant branches and shakes itself so as to hatch seahorses.
Seahorses’ existence are threatened by different factors such as: predators like tuna and crabs; turbulent water; pollution; and hunting.
For seahorse fans, go for some diving now while they are still extensive especially in Cabilao Island, Philippines. Contact Sea Explorers for more information on your next diving escapade.