Seahorses belong to a family that includes other Malapascua gems like Pipefish. They might not look like a typical fish but they are indeed under same classification as other bony fish such as tuna. They belong to the genus Hippocampus, which derives from the Greek for horse (hippo) and sea monster (campus).
- Most seahorses are monogamous and remain faithful to one partner for the breeding season and some even over several seasons. Like any animal, the male provides the sperm and the female provide the eggs. However, instead of the female carrying the eggs, she will hand them over to the male and he will carry them in his pouch after fertilisation. The man womb provides nutrients and oxygen needed by developing baby seahorses. After 2-4 weeks the male will, at night time, go into ‘labour’ and for hours he will be pumping and thrusting to release his brood. He will give give birth to 100-200 babies each the size off 7-12 mm. These tiny creatures are now all on their own straight from birth.
- Seahorses are masters of camouflage with changing colors and changing texture of skin to blend in with their surroundings. Over a short period of time the seahorses can change colours, especially during doing mating or greetings. Male and female seahorses can be told apart by the presence of a brood pouch on the male.
- Seahorses size can vary a lot from 30 cm to a small pygmy seahorse which is less then 2cm. Measurements are calculated from the tip of the tail and to the top of the cornet.
- How long seahorses live is still unknown. Surveys so far have concentrated on seahorses in captivity, where some species range from one year for the smallest species and for larger species its between three to five years.
Here in Malapascua we get three different kind of seahorses; Pygmy seahorse, Thorny seahorse and the common Seahorse. Come dive with us and our amazing dive masters will bring you around the different divesites and do their best to show you seahorses.
Seahorses are a flagship species, charismatic symbols of the seagrass, mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries and seaweeds where they make their homes. Protecting seahorses means protecting these diverse habitats all of the marine life that lives therein.
We need to help protect seahorses and do our best to help research. Soon we will post a new blog on why seahorses are vulnerable and what we can do to help. And don’t forget we have a code of conduct for snapping pygmy seahorses to help them live long and healthy lives!
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