Journal archives for April 2019

April 03, 2019

A spotless three-spot seahorse!

Hippocampus trimaculatus,  the three-spot seahorse. Photo by DavidR/iSeahorse

Hippocampus trimaculatus, the three-spot seahorse. Photo by DavidR/iSeahorse

Our celebrity species this month is Hippocampus trimaculatus, aka the three-spot seahorse. Thanks, iSeahorse user davidr, for spotting this spotless three-spot!

Project Seahorse biologist Lily Stanton had a tricky time identifying this fish, as, like Oddball from the classic animated movie "102 Dalmatians", this specimen lacks the spots adorning their kin. What gave away its identity was the backwards-facing hooked spine jutting out of its chin, an even more distinctive H. trimaculatus trait than the 3 spots typically found along their back.

Trimaculatus translates to three-spot, and many fish have this word as the latter half of their binomial name. This includes the three-spot wrasse (Halichoeres trimaculatus), three-spot angelfish (Apolemichthys trimaculatus), three-spot grouper (Epinephelus trimaculatus), three-spot grunter (Hephaestus trimaculatus), and three-spot barb (Enteromius trimaculatus), among others. There’s also a three-spot dung beetle (Scybalocanthon trimaculatus)! While these other three-spotted species are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, the three-spot seahorse has the unfortunate distinction of being the only Vulnerable trimaculatus thus far.

Perhaps this three-spot’s threatened status is because, unlike Oddball, who was able to outrun Cruella before the glamourous villain was trapped in a giant cake and subsequently arrested, the largely sedentary seahorse is unable to escape danger. Since H. trimaculatus happens to hang out in the exact sort of habitat favoured by tropical shrimp - sandy, muddy substrates - this seahorse is particularly prone to becoming shrimp trawler bycatch.

Not much is known about their exact numbers, so we really appreciate when iSeahorse users like davidr (and you!) contribute to our knowledge base with pics like this.

To learn more about these species, check out the IUCN Red List website:

View the original observations here:

Posted on April 03, 2019 04:23 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2019

Prickly, plum-hued stunner is March's pick

Hippocampus spinosissimus,  hedgehog seahorse. Photo by Evolution Dive Resort, Philippines.

Hippocampus spinosissimus, hedgehog seahorse. Photo by Evolution Dive Resort, Philippines.

This prickly, plum-hued stunner is none other than the hedgehog seahorse (Hippocampus spinosissimus), our featured iSeahorse observation from March. The photo was posted by Evolution Dive Resort, which operates out of Malapascua Island, Philippines.

In addition to the Philippines, hedgehog seahorses are found in Australia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Sadly, these seahorses face threats to survival across this range, including the fact that they’re one of the two seahorse species most frequently reported as being traded internationally. Conversations with fishers in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand have indicated that over the last decade the H. spinosissimus population may have decreased by 30% or more. They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

There is much work to be done to get our oceans in ship-shape despite all the ships and organizations such as Evolution Dive Resort who are doing their part. They strive for environmental responsibility, and outline the ways in which they reduce, reuse and recycle on their website. From participating in a used boat oil recycling program, to keeping plastic out of the ocean by repurposing empty detergent bottles as flower pots, Evolution is striving to protect the home of local wildlife like Mandarin fish, bobtail squids and hedgehog seahorses. Find out what you can do too -

Find out more about the hedgehog seahorse here:

Posted on April 30, 2019 09:22 PM by projectseahorse projectseahorse | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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