Seahorses are marine fish belonging to the genus Hippocampus
of the family Syngnathidae. They are found in temperate and
tropical waters all over the world.

Seahorses range in size from 16 mm (the recently discovered
Hippocampus denise) to 35 cm. They are notable for being the
only species where the males get pregnant.

The seahorse is a true fish, with a dorsal fin located on the lower
body and pectoral fins located on the head near their gills. Some
species of seahorse are partly transparent, hence are often not
spotted in aquariums despite being there and are also not often seen in pictures.

Seahorse populations have been endangered in recent years by overfishing. The seahorse is used in traditional Chinese herbology, and as many as 20 million seahorses may be caught each year and sold for this purpose.

Import and export of seahorses is controlled under CITES since May 15, 2004.

Sea dragons are close relatives of seahorses but have bigger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed or kelp beds. Sea dragons feed on larval fishes and amphipods, such as small shrimp-like crustaceans called mysids ("sea lice"), sucking up their prey with their small mouths. Many of these amphipods feed on red algae that thrives in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live.

Seahorses reproduce in an unusual way: the male becomes pregnant. Most seahorse species pregnancies lasts approximately two to three weeks.

The male seahorse has a brood pouch where he carries eggs deposited by the female. The mating pair entwine their tails and the female aligns a long tube called ovipositor with the male's pouch. The eggs move through the tube into the male's pouch where he then fertilizes them. The embryos will develop between ten days and six weeks, depending on species and water conditions. When the male gives birth he pumps his tail until the baby seahorses emerge.

The males pouch regulates salinity for the eggs, slowly increasing in the pouch to match the water outside as the eggs mature. Once the offspring hatch, the male releases them and is done caring for them. Most will not consume their own offspring, however it isn't unheard of.

Once released, the offspring are independent of their parents. Some spend time among the ocean plankton developing before settling down and hitching as their parents do. Other species (H. zosterae) hitch immediately and begin life in the benthos.

Seahorses are frequently monogamous, though several species (H. zosterae and H. abdominalis amount them) are highly gregarious. In monogamous pairs, the male and female will greet one another with courtship displays in the morning, and in the evening to reinforce their pair bond. They spend the rest of the day separate from each other hunting for food.

As Pets

While many aquarium hobbyists keep seahorses as pets, seahorses collected from the wild do not tend to fare well in a home aquarium. They will only feed on live foods such as brine shrimp and are prone to stress in an aquarium, which lowers their immune systems and exposes them to diseases.
World Animal Foundation
Adopt A Seahorse ]   WAF Home ]

Adopt A Seahorse from World Animal Foundation and make a difference for animals and the environment.

Your WAF Adopt A Seahorse Kit comes in a deluxe WAF Folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Seahorse

  • Adopt A Seahorse Adoption Certificate

  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Seahorse

  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues & How You Can Help Animals And The Environment

Adopt An Animal Adopt A Seahorse Kits make great gifts and can be sent directly to the recipient at a date of your choosing.  Simply supply the recipient's name and mailing address as shipping information.  We'll even include a letter stating the Adopt A Seahorse is from you.

WAF's Adopt A Seahorse symbolic adoption is $35 and helps the World Animal Foundation to preserve the planet and protect its animals.  Adopt a seahorsefor yourself or order an Adopt A Seahorse as a gift.  Help make a difference for animals -Adopt A Seahorse Today!

Click Here to Adopt A Seahorse ]