Nature is so diverse that day by day it leaves us surprised with its beautiful landscapes and its species. In this case, the sea and its wide variety of animals reward us with the seahorses. Therefore, in this installment we will address what is related to this wonderful little fish.
The majestic seahorses or hippocampus form a group of marine fish that belong to the Syngnathidae family, also includes pipefish.
Its origin results from the combination of the two words in Greek:
- The word hippos, which means “horse,” because of the peculiar resemblance that its head presents with that of horses,
- On the other hand the word kampos that means “sea monster”
According to the World Marine Species Registry, there are 53 species of seahorses. So the diversity of this aquatic species is wide.
Seahorses or also called hippocampus are fish that belong to the same family of sea dragons and pipefish. Its existence is ancient since they date at least 40 million years.
There is great diversity of species of seahorses on the planet. However, most are in shallow and warm waters.
Seahorses perform their movements in an upright position and have dorsal fins for propulsion. They also have pectoral fins near the gills to maintain balance and orientation.
They are able to cling to seagrass and seaweed, wrapping their tails around the stems that helps them avoid being dragged by strong currents
These marine animals have skin stretched over a series of bony plates, noticeable as rings around the body.
This bone armor and its unique anatomy helps to protect them and very few animals feed on them.
The seahorse has a long tube as a mouth, which has no teeth, and acts as a food vacuum, absorbing small crustaceans and plankton.
Attributes of seahorses
- The seahorse is one of those fish that attract attention from the visual point of view. Next we will mention some attributes of this marine species.
- The seahorse lives in waters of tropical and shallow temperatures.
- It has no squamas. On the other hand, nothing in an upright position, this characteristic is a differentiating element from the other marine species.
- Seahorses have a small crown called a coral net.
- Despite being an aquatic creature these fish are not good swimmers, however they depend on the dorsal fin to move.
- What represents a real curiosity is that the male sea horse is the one that carries the eggs, he will have them in his body for 45 days until they have matured in the course of reproduction.
- It has no teeth or stomach. For this reason seahorses have to eat continuously because the digestion process is very fast.
- These marine animals lead a very leisurely life
- They are very versatile because they change color to combine with the marine habitat.
- The seahorse is not able to bend its tail backwards.
- In relation to the size of a seahorse, they are very small, but the larger ones are approximately 8 inches tall.
- The seahorse has a prehensile tail that allows it to collect and maintain objects.
- Seahorses are vertebrates, this is because all the hippocampus have an internal skeleton.
- The life expectancy of seahorses in their natural habitat varies between 4 and 6 years.
Natural environment of the hippocampus
The natural habitat of these aquatic creatures is in shallow tropical waters, and hot temperatures. Although its depth category fluctuates between 0 and 2,543 m, and the temperature range can be between 3 and 28 ° C.
They live among corals, macroalgae, seagrasses and mangroves.
In the case of females they usually have approximately 100 m² of territorial space. Meanwhile, males do not usually exceed the square meter of territorial space.
The hippocampus is distributed on both coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea. Likewise, in the Indo-Pacific from the East African coast to the central Pacific, including the Red Sea.
A call to the conscience of human beings in relation to the preservation of the species of seahorses
As a conscience call to human beings is to protect the planet especially aquatic spaces that have unfortunately been violated in recent decades.
Like all marine species, the seahorse is not exempt from suffering the consequences of pollution of the seas and oceans.
On the other hand, people are urged not to touch, much less extract this beautiful creature from its natural habitat. Since the seahorse does not survive captivity due to the high levels of stress it feels
The reality is that seahorses do not last as long in captivity. Despite this, many people continue to extract these marine creatures from their environment and have them as pets.
Unfortunately, more than 20 million seahorses are caught annually to be used medicinally in countries such as China.
On the other hand, seahorses are used as souvenirs in many countries. They are extracted from the sea and put to death under the boiling sun. A practice that is classified as vile and cruel, since these animals are living beings that feel and suffer.
The animal trade has an estimated one billion seahorses per year. So it is not surprising that they become a more endangered species.
Unfortunately, this marine species does not survive captivity. Its life cycle under these conditions is shortened to a period of six weeks.
We must reflect and educate the population to become aware and help in the conservation of aquatic spaces.
Curiosity of seahorses
A particularity that should be noted is that they are unique in the animal kingdom. This is because it is the male hippocampus, and only the male, who becomes pregnant.
Males have an abdominal bag in their front. During the mating, the females deposit their eggs in them, which they will fertilize later.
It is in this male’s abdominal bag that they will incubate. After this stage, tiny seahorses will leave the water. A beauty.
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