Journal archives for February 2017

February 03, 2017

The Japanese seahorse - November's highlighted observation

November’s featured iSeahorse observation is of a Japanese seahorse, Hippocampus mohnikei. This little fish was spied off the Cambodian coast during a formal seahorse survey conducted by Projects Abroad Cambodia. The sighting is rather timely, considering the recent publication of a paper illuminating updates in knowledge about this species’ range, habitat and threats.

The Japanese seahorse was previously thought to inhabit Japanese waters exclusively, but it’s been discovered that it also resides around Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. And while they were once only associated with seagrass beds and estuaries, they’ve now been spotted in several other habitats, including mangrove, mussel and oyster farms.

Although H. mohnikei is listed as data deficient by the IUCN, the new data concerning their range, habitat and threats reveals that their living conditions are similar to those of the spotted seahorse (H. kuda), the three-spot seahorse (H. trimaculatus) and the hedgehog seahorse (H. spinosissimus). Since those three species have been designated by the IUCN as Vulnerable, this information may provide clues for devising the best Japanese seahorse conservation strategy.

Read the Project Seahorse research paper New records of the Japanese seahorse Hippocampus mohnikei in Southeast Asia lead to updates in range, habitat and threats” to find out more about this species.

Posted on February 03, 2017 08:32 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 1 comment | Leave a comment

December's celebrity syngnathid - long-snouted seahorse

December’s celebrity iSeahorse syngnathid is a long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus). It’s one of two species hailing from Europe, its counterpart being the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus). European seahorses have been known to be preyed upon by juvenile cuttlefish, but a far greater survival threat is habitat degradation and the seahorse trade industry.

This photogenic fish was spotted by Jef Driesen, who submitted the photo to the 2016 Guylian Seahorses of the World Photography Competition and reported it as a sighting to iSeahorse. He won the 3rd Place Public Prize for a different entry, but we thought this one was worthy of some recognition too! Jef snapped this candid shot near L’Escala, Spain, a stunning coastal municipality renowned for its Anchovy and Salt Museum and traditional Anchovy Festival.

Like many seahorse species, the long-snouted seahorse is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List. Citizen scientists like Driesen who report seahorse sightings help us learn more about their range, habitat and population, and this knowledge makes us better equipped to aid their survival. If you’re going diving soon, keep your eyes peeled for seahorses, as iSeahorse is always in need of new contributions. Plus, we’ll be holding Guylian Seahorses of the World again in 2018 – maybe one day your picture will be featured here too!

Visit the Guylian Seahorses of the World photo gallery to see more amazing photographs.

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Posted on February 03, 2017 08:58 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 16, 2017

First featured iSeahorse sighting of 2017 - a thorny seahorse

The first showcased iSeahorse sighting of 2017 is of a thorny seahorse, Hippocampus histrix. It was found within the boundary of Mafia Island Marine Park, a region in Tanzania consisting of island, coastal and ocean ecosystems that are internationally acclaimed for their biodiversity.

Globally, the thorny seahorse population is suspected to have declined at least 30% over the last 10-15 years, and this trend is predicted to continue. In 2002, this species was listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List, but after conducting surveys and analyzing international trade data, they were classified as Vulnerable in 2012. This highlights the importance of research for conservation - to formulate a gameplan for protecting H. histrix, we need to understand their population dynamics and the threats they face.

Mafia Island Marine Park encompasses six islands and ten villages, and its reefs harbour hundreds of distinct fish, invertebrate and algal species. The human inhabitants of the Mafia Island community are highly dependent on the natural resources found within the park. While commercial fishing and coral mining are forbidden, the land is sustainably used by local fishermen, and sightseers are encouraged to explore the world-renowned diving sites.

Not only is Mafia Island Marine Park important in that it protects local biodiversity, including the dugong, the hawksbill sea turtle, the green sea turtle, the writhing gecko and the Seychelles flying fox, but it also increases biodiversity in other regions of the ocean. Many larvae start their lives within the park before being swept along by the North East African Current, dispersing as far as the Red Sea.

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Posted on February 16, 2017 09:55 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 23, 2017

Fantastical Fishes: Seahorses, Pipefishes and Seadragons into the Future

SyngBIO 2017, the third meeting of researchers and other professionals working to understand the unique biology and conservation of Syngnathid fishes (seahorses, pipefishes, pipehorses, and seadragons) will be held May 14-19, 2017 in Tampa, Florida (USA) (hosted by The University of Tampa and co-hosted by Project Seahorse).

Find out more and also register here

“Fantastical Fishes: Seahorses, Pipefishes and Seadragons into the Future” is our theme this year. Keynote, oral and poster presentations will embrace several aspects of seahorse, pipefish and seadragon biology, including: physiology, phylogenetics, phylogeography, genomics, sexual selection and mating systems, behavior, syngnathid breeding programs and aquaculture, and conservation and management. Attendees typically include almost 200 scientists, educators, aquarium professionals, graduate/undergraduate students, and government officials dedicated to understanding and protecting the unique biology of seahorses, pipefishes and seadragons. Come join us!

Posted on February 23, 2017 06:05 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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