Photo Observation of the Month of August - White's Seahorse - Up Close and Personal

We are forging ahead with the monthly photo submission competition with renewed support from Blue World, and so I'd like to congratulate user eschlogl for his Photo Observation of the Month of August of a White's Seahorse (Hippocampus whitei) from Parsley Bay. Erik’s amazing photo truly highlights the yellow to brown body colouration on this seahorse, the numerous pale flecks, and its ability to camouflage from predators. Typical of other seahorses, the female will transfer her eggs into the abdominal pouch of the male, where he will fertilize them, provide physical protection to the embryos, aerate them, and provide initial-stage nourishment.
The observation of this species is extremely timely in the conversation about threatened species and habitat restoration in Sydney Harbour, particularly with some of the upscaled restoration efforts being led by Project Restore based out of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. Pollution, urban development (including the installation of boat moorings and anchors), and illegal trade are major sources of the decline of seahorses, though illegal trade is less of a concern in Australia. Indeed, the motivation behind the Seahorse Hotels we now see at select locations around NSW harbours was that severe storms, about 10 years ago, reduced the population in NSW by 90%. These storms shift huge volumes of sand, smothering the soft corals, sponges and seagrass that they associate with. More recently, in 2022, a one-in-100-year flood event nearly wiped out an already rapidly declining White's Seahorse population in Port Stephens. Based on this, any pollution spilling into the Harbour would be a threat to seahorses and the marine habitat that they depend on. All the more reason to protect the inner harbour ecosystem that hosts these endangered sea creatures in Parsley Bay from further construction and infrastructure projects.
This journal post was written by project leader and iNaturalist member, Dr Joseph DiBattista.
Posted on September 11, 2023 06:40 AM by joseph_dibattista joseph_dibattista


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