Seahorse (Syngnathus hippocampus) is a aquatic animal that lives in the sea. It is a very small fish and although it may seem otherwise, it is a vertebrate animal.

Currently about 32 species are recognized throughout the planet, with the exception of the polar areas.

Seahorse

Seahorse

Features

The seahorse is a tiny animal, measuring on average about 10 cm high, although the height varies according to the species. They can be seen in different colors but the color depends on the species and the area in which it lives.

Genetically it is closely related to the needlefish, although unlike other fish it lacks scales, replaced by a bony structure formed by small plates that are covered by a thin skin.

They have an elongated snout to be able to suck food. Its tail is elongated that is used to move through the sea and also to cling to corals and aquatic plants.

They spend their time diving among the coral reefs. Thanks to their colors they can hide from predators by camouflaging themselves with the reef collars.

Habitat

The seahorse inhabits the shallow and warm tropical waters of the entire planet. It is easy to find it in the vicinity of the reefs where it finds shelter and food.

The most populated area is mainly North and South America. Although it is also possible to see it in Europe, the Thames estuary and the largest species inhabit the Mediterranean Sea.

Food

The seahorse feeds on vegetables and small invertebrate animals such as shrimp, plankton, algae and small fish, therefore it is considered an omnivorous animal.

The way to hunt them is through its elongated snout with which it sucks its prey.

Predators

Due to its tiny size it is very vulnerable, therefore it has quite a few predators in its natural habitat. Its main enemies are crustaceans such as crabs, fish and rays. They also have humans as predators who hunt them for medicinal use.

Natural disasters are also a danger for seahorses, as they can be washed ashore where many fail to survive.

Seahorse clinging to a coral

Seahorse clinging to a coral

Reproduction

In the seahorse it is the male who carries the eggs before they hatch. In most of oviparous animals it is the female who protects the eggs until they hatch.

The female lays approximately 600 eggs (it varies according to the species) in the bag that the male has, where they will be fertilized and hatch in 3 weeks.

State of conservation

The seahorse is a highly threatened animal due to the deterioration of its native habitat and excessive hunting by humans, which are hunted by humans from the Far East to create medicine and hundreds of individuals are hunted each year.

List of other interesting animals