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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the tiniest Seahorse !!

There are some baffling names –   the semi aquatic huge animal ‘hippopotamus’ popularly hippo is literally ‘river horse’ – though we would not associate it with horse in any manner. 

There is another named after the equines – ‘seahorse’ – bony fish that do not have scales and thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates.  Seahorses swim upright, whereas fish would swim horizontally.   They swim very poorly by using a dorsal fin, which they rapidly flutter and pectoral fins, located behind their eyes, which they use to steer. Since they are poor swimmers, they are most likely to be found resting, with their prehensile tails wound around a stationary object. They have long snouts, which they use to suck up food, and eyes that can move independently of each other, much like a chameleon. Seahorses eat small shrimp, tiny fish, crustaceans and plankton.

Seahorses compose the fish genus Hippocampus.  Hippocampus comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning “sea monster”. It is stated that there  are nearly 50 species of seahorse. They are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. They prefer to live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, coral reefs, or mangroves.

The spiny seahorses are known to breed in British waters but offspring are so small and fragile that they have never been seen before.  A couple of years back, there was some flutter when a single 1.5inch long female baby was  spotted by a diver off the coast of Studland, Dorset, leading experts to compare the sighting to finding a yeti.  The Seahorse Trust was excited and reported the sighting to be phenomenal.  It was so tiny about four centimetres long.  Reportedly sea horse surveys have been on since 1994 and this reportedly is the tiniest. 

It is stated that  around 300 to 500  are born to each male seahorse but would only fewer  than two or three of each brood survive to adulthood, with most becoming food for fish.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th April 2012.


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