Some of the most fascinating creatures from marine life are the Seahorses. They make each one of us curious about how they look, behave and move beneath the waves. You will be surprised to know that there are a total of 53 different seahorse species in the world and they all look different from one another.
Let’s look at 25 facts about seahorses.
1. Not many predator
The major predators to seahorses are human beings who are harvesting them faster than their reproduction. Also, crabs are a threat too. Since the Seahorses are bony and indigestible to most of the marine animals, they don’t have to worry much.
2. Responsible males
The reproductive procedure of this species is quite different from all the others. When they are ready to mate, the female deposits her eggs in the males pouch, which is near his abdomen. She has a capacity to leave upto 50 eggs. Now it’s the duty of the male to carry those eggs till the time they are ready to be born.
3. Unique fingerprint
Just as we humans have a unique fingerprint, in the same way every seahorse has a defining characteristic. The small crown called the coral net is different in each one of them in terms of shape and size.
4. Eyes work independently of one another
They have a distinctive quality through which both their eyes work individually. For instance if one eye is looking in front then the other can look behind. This lets them be aware of their surroundings at all times.
5. A fish with no scales
Even though they are a kind of fish, they have no scales. Instead they have an exoskeleton that consists of hard plates that are put together.
6. A useful tail
Seahorses swim upright which is one of the major reasons why they might find it difficult to survive a storm. But they are pretty good at anchoring themselves to the corals and grasses, which helps them to stay strong. Also while fighting with their opponents for good or territory, Seahorses use their powerful tail to fight. On the contrary when they get along we see pairs of seahorses swimming with their tails linked together.
7. Ability to camouflage
Seahorses have the skill to hide themselves in the coral reefs where they live. It is surprising to know that some of these species can even change the colour of their bodies to blend in with the environment. While others are already built with the right shape, size , colour and texture to camouflage with the corals.
8. Partners for life
It is true that they are monogamous creatures which means they only mate with one sea horse for their entire life. They choose a single companion with which they stay for the entire lifespan. While doing so they are seen dancing with one another, swimming alongside one another and spinning around each other.
9. Food lovers
Having a unique digestive system with no teeth or a stomach makes them hungry constantly. This is the reason why they are seen eating tiny fishes and plankton most of the time. They can consume a total of 3,000 brine shrimp in one day.
10. Don’t resemble a fish but they are
Seahorses may not look like a fish but they are actually classified as one. Things which make them a fish are swim bladders to control buoyancy, gills to breathe and the fins to propel them through the water.
11. Use two types fins to move
They move forward using the dorsal fin that’s located on their back. Whereas they use their pectoral fins to maneuver and navigate, these are located at their sides of the head. The pectoral fins flap about 30 to 40 times per second, which makes it impossible for humans to observe it.
12. Eat 50 times per day
Mysis shrimp, red shrimp, brine shrimp , ghost shrimp, daphnia and guppies are all included in their meal. An adult seahorse has to eat about 30 to 50 times a day to sustain themselves.
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13. No stomach
Since they don’t have a stomach it could be one of the reasons why they have to eat so extensively. The food doesn’t get stored in an organ and keeps passing through the entire digestive system. That’s the reason why they need to constantly spend a lot of time hunting for food.
14. No teeth
Most fishes and other marine creatures do have teeth, but on the contrary the Seahorses don’t. That’s the reason why they have to suck their food and swallow as a whole.
15. Eats plant too
Smaller marine animals form most of their appetite but there is some place for plants such as seagrass, kelp, seaweed and algae.
16. Big belly seahorse
This one is the biggest seahorse species, also known as the hippocampus abdominalis. They are native to southern Australia and New Zealand and can grow roughly 10 times bigger than the smallest Seahorse species.
17. Stormi pygmy
The stormi pygmy Seahorse, also known as the hippocampus stormi is the smallest seahorse species. They grow only about 0.54 inches in size. And are found in the coral walls in northern Borneo and Indonesia.
18. Sleep with open eyes
Having no eyelids is the reason they have to rest or sleep with their eyes wide open. They tend to cling onto reeds or corals using their tails so as to camouflage and avoid drifting into the ocean while resting.
19. More than 50 predators
Their typical enemies are skipjack tuna, loggerhead sea turtles, horn sharks and fairy penguins. A total of 50 marine animals are their prey, that’s why they are flighty in nature.
20. You can have a seahorse snack
Countries like Taiwan, Japan and China have seahorse dishes you could try. The creature also features in some countries’ cooking.
21. Tough life for babies
Right from the moment they are born, they have to face many challenges. There are chances that a male seahorse can eat their young ones. Only a few of them get to survive out the hundreds that are born.
22. Practice courtship
Before they breed, the courtship could last a several days. The researchers believe that the females use this period to make sure that the males are capable enough to have her eggs when she is ready to deposit them.
23. Cure illness
The Chinese medicine traditionally uses Seahorses, though there are no concrete evidence to it. Chinese believe that seahorse could cure infertility, impotence, wheezing, pain and labour induction.
24. Kept as pets
They are popular among exotic pets. Though they don’t survive until their life expectancy rate in the wild but they can live up to 4 years if the owner takes good care of it.
25. Keeping seahorse is expensive
They cost about $100. And even they need huge sum of food all through the day. They require saltwater tank and other equipment too. So they need ample of care and money to live a long life.
While the facts about Seahorses are so fascinating there is one important thing that we overlook which is that these species depend upon us to make sure that the ecosystem which they call home is healthy and protected from human trash. We are the only hope for them. And the only way we could fulfill their wish is by taking proper actions. We all need to work together to fight for a better future and a healthier one. If we don’t want species like these to get extinguished then we need to start doing something about it now.
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