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Species focus: short-snouted seahorse

By Weald to Waves - 18 July 2023

Species focus: short-snouted seahorse (hippocampus hippocampus)

Hippocampus_hippocampus_(on_Ascophyllum_nodosum)_Hans Hillewaert.jpg

  1. Habitat: Found in Sussex's coastal waters, particularly among seagrass meadows, rocky reefs, and areas with seaweed.
  2. Range: Distributed across the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from the UK to North Africa.
  3. Size: Grows up to 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) in length.
  4. Appearance: Distinctive short snout, prehensile tail, and a body covered in bony plates.
  5. Camouflage: Can change color to blend with surroundings for effective camouflage.
  6. Feeding: Preys on small crustaceans, plankton, and tiny fish using its snout.
  7. Reproduction: Males have a brood pouch and give birth to up to 200 tiny seahorse fry. Seahorses tend to mate for life and perform a courtship dance with their partner each morning!
  8. Conservation status: Classified as "Vulnerable" due to habitat destruction, pollution, and the marine aquarium trade.
  9. Local threats: Coastal development, pollution, and damage to seagrass habitats.
  10. Climate change: Climate change impacts may affect water temperature, salinity, and food availability for seahorses.
  11. Sustainable fisheries: Ensuring sustainable fishing practices can prevent overfishing and protect seahorse habitats.
  12. Marine pollution: Pollution from plastic waste and chemicals harms seahorse habitats and populations.

We actually have two species of seahorse in Sussex. The long-snouted or spiny seahorse (hippocampus guttulatus) has, as you might have guessed, a longer snout and long spines down the back of its neck.

Hippocampus_guttulatus_2_Mare Per Sempre.jpg

Discover a seahorse? Contribute to scientific research!

If you happen upon a seahorse during your coastal explorations, you can actively contribute to valuable scientific research. Send sighting details to The Seahorse Trust at theseahorsetrust@gmail.com.

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