Journal archives for March 2018

March 05, 2018

iSeahorse featured observation: the Vulnerable tiger-tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes)

The first highlighted iSeahorse observation of the New Year features a tiger-tail seahorse, Hippocampus comes, courtesy of iSeahorse user tantsusoo. This winsome specimen was encountered on the coast of Jurong Island, a region of Singapore that was created artificially in 2009 by connecting 7 smaller islands. If you want to see a tiger-tail, you can also find them in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. It depends what time you dive, though - like their feline namesake, this seahorse is mostly nocturnal.

Across their range, H. comes is threatened by their desirability for use in both traditional medicine and the aquarium trade. One of the most heavily extracted seahorse species, the tiger-tail is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In the past, some regions of the Philippines contained 20 tiger-tail seahorses per metre squared, but that is certainly not the case anymore, as their population has been decreasing.

While they are among the seahorse species most frequently removed from their environment, they also have the distinction of being among the most successful seahorse species to be bred in captivity. Compared to other Hippocampus genus members that have been reared in aquaculture, H. comes has high fertility and survival rates. If they can be raised in captivity instead, perhaps there will be less draw to remove them from the ocean.

Tropical fish destined for aquariums are frequently trapped via an environmentally destructive practice called cyanide fishing, a capture technique that is prevalent in the Philippines. This technique uses a cyanide solution to stun fish, so they can be easily caught alive. Not only does exposure to this chemical appear to reduce the lifespan of captive fish, but its presence can be detrimental to the surrounding reefs, and fish inhabiting the area which are later caught for restaurants can have trace amounts of cyanide, which could pose a health risk to the humans that consume them.

Posted on March 05, 2018 09:20 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 30, 2018

Big bellies and 3000+ observations on iSeahorse

February's iSeahorse featured observation is a pretty bigbelly seahorse and a pretty big deal - this marks iSeahorse’s 3,000th observation!!! A bigbelly thanks to iSeahorse user psmythe for the observation. It’s been a full year since the last time we featured Hippocampus abdominalis (remember the resilient Rosie?) on the iSeahorse blog, and several seahorse conservation milestones have happened since then: 

  • In 2017, many seahorse species had their IUCN Red List status updated, due to the publication of new conservation assessments. Bigbellies, for example, went from Data Deficient to Vulnerable. 
  • April 2017 brought the introduction of the National Seahorse Experts and Ambassadors, who live all over the world promoting iSeahorse and answering seahorse questions in their local communities. At present, we have 17 Experts in 12 countries, and 17 Ambassadors in 10 countries, and these numbers are growing. 
  • Between summer 2016 and now, iSeahorse went from 2000 to 3000 observations! That’s quite an astounding feat, especially considering the fact that iSeahorse only started in October 2013. 

We want to say thank you to some of the people who have helped made this possible:

  • Our trends-monitoring divers and diving companies across the globe! A special shout out to Projects Abroad Cambodia, who have been tremendously helpful at tracking changes in seahorse populations and habitats.
  • Scuba Shooters dive photography, who have worked hard to raise awareness and generate interest in iSeahorse.
  • And of course you - the iSeahorse contributor- for your wonderful observations and enthusiasm.

Here are some other ways you can be involved:

Thank you again, and keep those observations coming!

Posted on March 30, 2018 12:10 AM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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