Conservation and Research
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
Environmental Excellence Awards
Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute
Reproductive Research Center
Camps and Sleepovers
Just for Teachers
Education Offering Highlights
Teacher Workshops and Training
Seahorses are elongate with rigid body armor and swim upright. Pectoral fins on the sides and a small dorsal fin on the back of a seahorse's body wave rapidly to move the seahorse through the water. They feed using small mouths at the end of tubular snouts.
The various species range in size from about 5 to 36 cm (2-14 in.) in length.
Plankton and fish larvae
Ovoviviparous ("egg live birth"). Incubation may last 2-6 weeks, depending on the species. After the embryos have developed, the male gives birth to tiny seahorses, some as small as 1 cm (0.4 in.) long.
A female seahorse deposits 100 or more eggs into a pouch on the male's abdomen. The male releases sperm into the pouch, fertilizing the eggs. The embryos develop within the male's pouch, nourished by their individual yolk sacs.
Seahorses are found in temperate and tropical waters. The longsnout seahorse (
) and the Northern seahorse (
) live in the Caribbean region of the Western Atlantic. The common seahorse (
) lives in the Mediterranean Sea and warm areas of the Atlantic. The yellow seahorse (
) lives in the Indo-Pacific. The Pacific seahorse (
) is the only seahorse on the eastern Pacific coast, ranging from California to Peru.
Typically found in shallow waters with abundant vegetation
Several species listed as Vulnerable or Data Deficient; 1 species listed as Endangered
Several species listed as Appendix II
A seahorse is a type of fish closely related to pipefishes and belonging to the scientific family Syngnathidae. Roughly 35 species of seahorse occur worldwide.
The seahorse's scientific genus name,
, is Greek for "bent horse".
The seahorse may appear as if it wears armor; its body is covered with bony rings and ridges.
Seahorses are well camouflaged among the relatively tall eelgrasses and seaweeds in which they make their homes. A seahorse often moors itself in the water by curling its prehensile tail around seagrass and coral branches.
The seahorse's small mouth, located at the end of its tube-like snout, sucks up tiny plankton and fish larvae.
For more information about bony fishes, explore the
Bony Fishes InfoBook
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Andrews, A., Parham, D. and W. Street.
. SeaWorld Education Department Publication. San Diego, SeaWorld, Inc. 1995.
Burgess, W. and H.R. Axelrod.
Pacific Marine Fishes. Books 1,6, & 8
. Neptune City, NJ. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Ltd. 1971, 1975, 1984.
Eschmeyer, W.N., Herald, E.S. and H. Hammann.
Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes
. New York. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1983.