The seahorse or hippocampus is a very interesting creature from which there is much to learn. These features will help you identify even more with seahorses.
The seahorse lives in waters of tropical and shallow temperatures.
It has no scales, although due to its characteristics it seems to have them.
Nothing in an upright position, something very different from what other aquatic creatures do.
It is not related to real horses, the name comes from facial features similar to these.
Seahorses have a small crown called a coral net. It is unique to each of them.
They are not good swimmers, but they depend on the dorsal fin to help them move.
The two eyes of a sea horse are able to move independently of each other.
The male seahorse is the one who carries the eggs, he will have them in his body for 45 days until they have fully matured during the breeding process.
Less than 1% of all young people survive the age of maturity. This could be the reason why the female lays up to 1500 eggs in the male during mating.
The seahorse does not survive captivity due to the high levels of stress it experiences. Despite this fact, many people continue to keep them as pets.
More than 20 million seahorses are caught every year to be used medicinally in countries like China.
The seahorse has a prehensile tail that allows it to collect and maintain objects. You can use these elements in water just like we do with our hands.
There is the wrong myth that all seahorses remain with the same partner throughout their lives.
Due to their poor ability to swim, they can die from exhaustion in high current waters.
The seahorse has no teeth or stomach. They have to eat constantly due to the rapid digestion process.
They have the ability to change color to blend with the environment.
The seahorse is not able to bend its tail back.
The size of a sea horse can be as small as half an inch tall. The largest are only about 8 inches tall.
Penguins are one of the most common predators of seahorses, as well as tuna, manta rays, rays and crabs.
The seahorse ingests whole foods. That's why they have a prominent snout that often seems to be too large compared to their small body.
Water pollution and commercial fishing are two serious threats to the future of seahorses.
The seahorse uses the tail to fight if necessary, this is common among males during the mating season. Females fight each other or with males for territory or food.
The seahorse has no members or dangerous mechanisms to defend itself. His only defense against predators is his ability to hide very well by mixing with the environment.
The average life in the nature of a seahorse ranges between 4 and 6 years. It is much less for those who are in captivity due to stress, inappropriate conditions and high risk of disease.
You can differentiate males from females by looking at the abdominal area. The males have a smooth surface with a bag that is where the eggs are deposited. Females have a pointed and rough stomach.
Seahorses are vertebrates, this is because all the hippocampus have an internal skeleton.
One of the most interesting sea creatures in the world is the seahorse. These animals have a very unique appearance and are attractive to people, which is due to the great resemblance of their faces and those of horses, hence the name with which they are popularly known.
The snout of seahorses is very prominent and helps them to be easily>
They can be found in the seas around the world, prefer shallow and warm nature areas, usually mix with the environment where they are and are so small that it is difficult to see them, unless they are directed towards you. The smallest seahorse species are approximately half an inch tall, the largest are 8. Most of the species you will see are located within this range.
Approximately 40 types of seahorses have been identified, although all have common characteristics, there are also sufficient differences to place them in several categories. For example there are some who are even able to change color, managing to blend perfectly with their surroundings.
Seahorse fossils are scarce, but there have been some significant findings that date back about 3 million years. It is believed that these creatures evolved to be able to survive in shallow water areas and to hide in these areas thanks to the ability to blend with the environment. This camouflage is very important for them because it allows them to be well protected against the stalking of predators. Among the seahorses are the males who carry the eggs from which the offspring will come, these are placed in their bodies by the female after some very complex mating rituals have occurred, as part of the reproduction process.
These animals do not adapt to living in captivity, many people try to keep them in aquariums, but they often die from high levels of stress or disease. There are places where the number of seahorses living in their natural habitat is decreasing. This is due to the fact that many of these areas are constantly reduced or to the strong hunting they are subjected to in places like China, where they are used medicinally, or in Indonesia where they are part of a large trade.
There are many natural predators for seahorses, always depending on the location. This group includes stripe, manta ray, penguins and crabs, however, the weather is a big problem for them and kills more adults than any predator. They often die from exhaustion when they try to move for long periods of time in troubled waters, usually seahorses live in areas of smooth movement, but sometimes weather conditions can alter the state of the waters quickly.
On the other hand, large fishing nets are usually spread throughout the areas where the seahorse lives, this type of commercial activity is the cause for which thousands of them die annually. There are many benefits that the seahorse offers to its natural environment and a consequence that has caused its mass elimination in some areas, has been the population imbalance in them, because it has triggered an overpopulation of other living beings in the seas of all the planet.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about seahorses.
What are seahorses?
Seahorses or hippocampus are fish that belong to the same family of sea dragons and pipefish and have been around for at least 40 million years. There are several species of seahorses around the world, most of them are in shallow and warm waters. Seahorses swim upright and have dorsal fins for propulsion, pectoral fins near gills for stabilization and direction, and a small anal fin. They are able to cling to seagrass and seaweed, wrapping their tails around the stems that helps them avoid being dragged by strong currents. Instead of scales, seahorses have their skin stretched over a series of bone plates, visible as rings around the body. This bone armor and anatomy helps protect them and very few animals feed on them. Seahorses can move each eye independently. They are unique in the animal kingdom since it is the male hippocampus, and only the male, who becomes pregnant. The seahorse has a long tube as a mouth, which has no teeth, and acts as a food vacuum, absorbing small crustaceans and plankton.
How to see seahorses?
Seahorses are small, very well camouflaged and difficult to detect by snorkeling or diving. To avoid disturbing them in their natural environment, the easiest way to see seahorses is to visit an aquarium, where seahorses are kept and bred in captivity.
Where does the name of the seahorse come from?
"Seahorse" derives from "hippocampus," an ancient Greek word that means ‘horse’ and ‘sea monster’.
How many different types of seahorse species exist?
According to the World Marine Species Registry, there are 53 species of seahorses.
Can seahorses make noise?
Seahorses can produce sounds like clicks during feeding and courtship. They do it by moving two parts of their skull, one against the other.
What is the average life of a seahorse?
There is no definitive answer to this question, but it extends from about a year for smaller species, with an average of three to five years for larger species.
What do seahorses eat?
Brine, shrimp, small fish and plankton. An adult eats 30-50 pieces a day.
How do seahorses eat?
Seahorses have no teeth or stomach. Food passes through your digestive systems so quickly, that you must eat almost constantly to stay alive.
How do seahorses have their young?
The female seahorse lays the eggs in the male's bag, where they hatch. Each male seahorse has an incubation bag in his body. The eggs are fertilized by the male, who also goes through the process of pregnancy and childbirth and needs 2-3 weeks for the young to be born.
What are the main threats to seahorses?
There are three main reasons why seahorses are at risk:
First, traditional Chinese medicine, with more than 20 million seahorses a year being used medicinally.
They are used as souvenirs in many countries. They are deliberately extracted from the sea and put to death under the boiling sun.
The animal trade has an estimated one billion seahorses per year. It is believed that less than 1,000 of them live for more than six weeks.
How is the seahorse?
Our protagonists are animals that have nothing in common with the rest of the fish. They reach a height of between 14mm and 29cm. His body is covered by a plate armor or bone constitution rings. His position is always erect. They move from one place to another thanks to their dorsal fin, which is located in the lower back, very close to the tail. Although they shake it about 3 and a half times per second, they often have many problems to reach their destination. Vertical displacement is achieved by adjusting the volume of air in the swim bladders and using the pectoral fins.
Its tail is prehensile, which means that they can cling to corals and aquatic plants, thus preventing sea currents from taking them too far. Further, they are mimetic, that is, they can change the colors of your body to get confused between the macroalgae of your environment. This strategy is vital for their survival, as seahorses serve as food for crabs, tunas, goldfish and sea birds.
Communication with other congeners
Although it may not seem like it, seahorses are sociable aquatic animals. It is easy to find small groups near the reefs. For communicating, cause a kind of snap with quick movements of your head, thus brushing a part of the skull with a part of its upper external skeleton. Once a year, when the water temperature rises, they get together with their partners by entwining their tails for 15 to 20 minutes.
The male drops his seminal fluid to the outside, and as the eggs enter the male's sack, called marsupium, they fertilize. There can develop being well protected from 10 days to six weeks, depending on the species and the temperature of the sea. After that time, the male lets out the young, contracting his body to make pressure and power, so, release them, something that will end up doing several hours. The "birth" can therefore be exhausting for the parent, since they can also have between 10 and more than 400 offspring.
The babies, once they leave, they are only 7-11 millimeters long. Until they reach adult size, will go in and out of the bag depending on whether there is danger or not abroad.
Where does the seahorse live?
Seahorses are found in warm waters, mainly tropical, between 0 and 2543m. The temperature range ranges from 3.04 to 28.4 ° C. So that, they develop in tropical and temperate waters, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea, as in the Indo-Pacific, from the East African coast to the central Pacific, including the Red Sea.
Unfortunately, today they are endangered animals, and its trade is regulated by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Every year, only in Asia, tons of seahorses are caught for use in traditional treatments. There, they are believed to have medicinal properties.
Likewise, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has listed many species of the genus as vulnerable, and some even as "in grave danger", such as Hippocampus capensis, which lives only in the Knysna estuary and in three other estuaries located on the south coast of South Africa.
To protect them from disappearance, artificial habitats are being built, as is the case in the same estuary of Knysna.
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