Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Lined Seahorse

Hippocampus erectus

With their horse-like heads and graceful bodies, seahorses are among the most unique marine animals. Their common name, “lined seahorse” refers to their characteristic pattern of white lines. The rest of their tightly stretched skin can vary from gray to orange to brown, yellow, red and black. They rely on their unique coloring and bony texture to camouflage themselves among coral and vegetation in their aquatic habitat.

Range & Habitat

Western Atlantic coastal waters from Nova Scotia south to Venezuela in South America. They live in areas where they can use their tails to latch onto to coral, sea grass and mangrove, at depths from 2 to 30 feet.

 

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Their population is decreasing, possibly due to pollution, residential/commercial development, and fishing/harvesting for the pet trade and traditional Chinese medicine. There are some conservation efforts in place, including international legislation, management and trade controls, in-place water protection, and education/awareness programs.

Diet

In the Wild: Small shrimp, very small fish, plants and plankton.

At the Zoo: brine shrimp.

Life Span

In the Wild: 1 to 4 years
In Human Care: 4 years

Fun Facts about the Lined Seahorse

  •  Seahorses are surprisingly poor swimmers!
  •  Seahorses can grow to over 7 inches long.
  •  After mating, it is the male seahorse that carries the eggs and "gives birth" when the babies are viable.
  •  The number of eggs/embryos that male seahorses can carry in their brood pouch can range from 97 to 1,552.
  •  After about 20 days of gestation the male seahorse will attach to an object and bend back and forth rapidly while opening its pouch to let its young swim free.
  •   Male seahorses have proportionally longer tails than females.
  •  Seahorses tend to live in shallower water during warm weather and move into deeper waters in winter.

 

Sources

Bester, Cathleen. “Hippocampus Erectus.” Florida Museum, 12 May 2017 www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/hippocampus-erectus/.

Hippocampus erectus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/10066/20191442

Oregon Coast Aquarium: Lined Seahorse, 

https://aquarium.org/animals/lined-seahorse/

Updated August 12, 2021
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