Seahorse

Seahorses are truly among the most unique animals in the sea or on land, and it isn’t just because they are shaped like a swimming horse.

Contrary to most fish, whose males take no real hand in rearing the young after mating, seahorses are not only animals who do this, but are also monogamous, and take their mates for a lifetime.

seahorse Seahorse
Seahorses anchor themselves to Coral to remain in place to eat

They are also the only animal on the earth or sea, in which the male of the species bears the young until they are born.

Seahorses are found in shallow water, in tropical and temperate climates world wide, and can range in their size from a scant half an inch long, up to about a foot or more.

The male seahorse has a pouch on his front side, that is called a brood pouch. When they mate the female will place her eggs into the pouch, and the male will internally fertilize them.

He will then carry them inside his pounch until they hatch, and then he will release them, fully formed, but quite miniature, baby sea horses.

Because of the way that seahorses are shaped they must swim upright and are not what are termed either speedy or adept at swimming, and in some cases, in a stormy sea, they will die of exhaustion because of this.

They have a small fin on the back that helps them to propel themselves forward, that flutters about thirty times a second, much like the wings of a hummingbird flutters its wings.

Very small pectoral fins located near the back of the head are what they use for steering themselves in the right direction.

They can, in a stormy sea, or for other reasons, anchor themselves to grass or coral, by their tails which are prehensile, and use their long noses to suck in the plankton and small crustaceans that drift by.

They are so small that they truly need to be continuous eaters, and they graze continually, some consuming more than 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day.

According to National Geographic and the Red List:

“Population data for most of the world’s 35 seahorse species is sparse. However, worldwide coastal habitat depletion, pollution, and rampant harvesting, mainly for use in Asian traditional medicine, have made one or two species vulnerable to extinction, while most remain stable.”

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