Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters all around the world, seahorses are a tiny type of marine fish of which there are over 50 known species. Their name comes from the shape of their head and neck, which is reminiscent of a horse and unique for an aquatic creature.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Actinopterygii
Order - Syngnathiformes
Family - Syngnathidae
Subfamily - Hippocampinae
Genus - Hippocampus
Common Names – Seahorse (54 species)
Although seahorses can come in many different colors, they’re predominantly brown, tan, white, orange, or a sunny yellow. They swim in an upright position, and instead of scales their body is covered in plates, which in turn is covered in skin.
Here’s a cool fact: male seahorses actually carry around the fertilized eggs of their young in a unique pouch until they’re ready to hatch. Though it is commonly believed that seahorses are monogamous for life, this is not actually true.
Seahorses rely on their camouflag to catch prey, wrapping their tails around a piece of seaweed or coral and waiting for something to come within reach of their mouths. They then suck up their meal through their small mouth. Like their close relative, the common seadragon, seahorses are uniquely suited to blend in with their aquatic environment.
Seahorses are popular aquarium fish, despite the fact that they are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity. They are quite fragile and easily stressed need extra special care.
There is very little known about the population number of many of the different seahorse species. In fact, there’s such a lack of reliable information that some researchers believe a handful of known species might actually be extinct. Like many creatures reliant on coral reef and seagrass ecosystems, seahorses are losing viable habitats, and this, in combination with an increasing rarity, has some marine biologists worried.