Check out this live stream from the seahorse tank at the New Zealand Marine Studies Center. Aren’t they cute?!
Fish or Horse
Seahorses are fish. They live in water, breath through gills and have a swim bladder. However they do not have caudal fins and have a long snake-like tail. They also have a neck and a snout that points down, which bears a resemblence to th e head and neck of a horse. Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, these upright-swimming relatives of the pipefish can range in size from 0.6 inches to 14 inches long.
Seahorses eat small crustacea. While an adult eats 30-50 times a day, a seahorse fry (baby seahorses) eats a staggering 3000 pieces of food per day.
Seahorses pair for life. They meet first thing in the morning to reinforce their pair bonding with an elaborate courtship display. The female meets the male in his territory and as they approach each other, they change colour. The male circles around the female and the pair often spiral around an object. This display can last for up to an hour.
Sympathy Pains? Nope, He’s Pregnant!
The male is the only creature where the male has a true reversed pregnancy. The female transfers her eggs to the male which he self-fertilises in his pouch. The number of eggs can vary from 50-150 for smaller species to 1500 for larger species.
They receive everything they need in the pouch from oxygen to food. Gestation time varies from 14 days to 4 weeks. Giving birth can be a long process with contractions lasting up to 12 hours.
Help the Seahorse
Seahorses are under threat worldwide for three main reasons: The Traditional Chinese Medicine Trade takes in excess of up to 150 million seahorses a year from the wild and these are used for all types of medicine.The Curio Trade takes approximately one million seahorses from the wild. Along with shells and starfish; they are deliberately taken from the sea and left to die in the boiling sun.
They are then sold as souvenirs, a sad and sorrowful reminder of once beautiful creatures.The pet trade takes an estimated one million seahorses from the wild and It is thought that less than 1,000 survive more than six weeks.
Learn more about or plan your visit to New Zealand Marine Studies Center at http://www.marine.ac.nz.
To learn more about Ocean Conservancy and the Trash Free Seas® program and to help work together to fight for a brighter, healthier future that we all know our ocean’s wildlife truly deserve, visit https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/.