Journal archives for May 2018

May 31, 2018

Denise’s pygmy seahorse:- a champion hide-and-seeker

March's featured iSeahorse observation highlights a champion hide-and-seeker, Denise’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise), courtesy of iSeahorse user maractwin. With their petite size and puppy dog eyes, they seem more like seadogs than seahorses. That adorable face kind of blows its cover, but imagine how seamlessly this fish would blend in with its back turned! In fact, the photographer nearly missed out on snapping the shot, as he didn’t even realize it was there until his dive guide pointed it out to him.

This particular specimen was found in the Solomon Islands, but Denise’s pygmy seahorses can also be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Palau, Philippines, Thailand and Vanuatu. They have a tight-knit relationship with gorgonian corals, though it appears to be a rather one-sided affair. Once a juvenile has chosen their host coral, they settle down for the long haul. The pygmies benefit from camouflage and having a place for their tails to cling, seemingly in exchange for nothing other than cute company.

While currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Redlist, it stands to reason that H. denise could be quite vulnerable to climate change. Due to their dependence on gorgonian corals, Denise’s pygmy seahorses are highly dependent on the health of coral reefs, which can suffer from the ocean acidification that results from rising carbon dioxide levels. Sadly, their clever camouflage won’t help them hide against bleached coral.

Find out more about H. denise here

Posted on May 31, 2018 12:05 AM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

An itty-bitty "sea foal"

For April we're showcasing an itty-bitty “sea-foal,” submitted by iSeahorse user Shane Gross. He happened upon this bobble-headed cutie in the Bahamas. It looks like it might be a baby slender seahorse (Hippocampus reidi), but it’s hard to say for sure at this age. 

While the fry of different seahorses are often difficult to tell apart, their behaviour can vary substantially. For example, the young of some species are pelagic, meaning they disperse from their parents by travelling through the water column, while others are benthic, meaning they cling to the vegetation near their birth site and don’t wander very far. 

Male slender seahorses give birth to around 700 offspring at a time, which are only about 6 mm tall as newborns! They start small, but given enough time and crustaceans, they can grow to lengths greater than 12 cm. For scale, the fish featured here has its tail wrapped around a blade of manatee grass. 

A huge thank you to Shane for submitting this picture. We highly encourage you to check out more of his astounding underwater snapshots. Explore his websites and social media accounts (@shanegrossphoto) to see photo stories chronicling everything from the plight of endangered Nassau groupers to the impacts of invasive lionfish. Our favourite photo of his is entitled “Blue crab and lemon shark in the mangroves.

Find out more about H. reidi  here

Posted on May 31, 2018 12:12 AM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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