Seahorses: Take a ride on the wild side.
Seahorses belong to the family Syngnathidae, which belongs
to the genus Hippocampus. Leafy Sea Dragons and Pipefish
also belong to this family, along with Seahorses. Seahorses
prefer to live in temperate, shallow, tropical waters around
the world. There are over thirty-two Seahorse species.
The Seahorse prefers to make its home in sheltered areas
like coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds. Colonies of
seahorses have been found in the Thames Estuary in Europe.
There are four species in the Americas that range in size
from the dwarf that is about one inch (two and one half
centimeters) long to the much larger foot (thirty
centimeters) long species. Seahorse species are also found
in Nova Scotia, Uruguay and the Mediterranean Sea.
Seahorses form territories in which the male stays within an
area of one square meter and the females range about. Their
coloring helps them to blend into their preferred
surroundings. But when something unusual occurs or when they
are in strange surroundings the can turn very brightly
The reason Seahorses are called Seahorses is because of
their horse-like profile. Seahorses do not have scales but
they do have bones and the skin is stretched over them in a
ring arrangement that gives the Seahorse its peculiar shape.
Every species of seahorse has a different number of rings
throughout their body.
Seahorses swim upright and use their fins and tail to
navigate. They are poor swimmers and it takes a lot of
effort for them to get around. Seahorses do not have a
caudal fin like other fish; rather they have a long flexible
tail that they use to wrap around stationary objects.
Seahorses have long snouts that they use to suck up food.
They are omnivorous and prefer to eat plankton, small shrimp
and tiny fish. Like the Chameleon lizard, their eyes can
move independent of each other. This makes them better able
to see predators and prey.
The male Seahorse has a brood pouch into which the female
lays her eggs, and the male will then internally fertilize
them. The male will carry the fertilized eggs around in his
pouch until they all emerge as fully developed miniature
Seahorses and spread out into surrounding waters.
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