The seahorse is conventionally one of the most mysterious, beautiful and instantly recognizable marine creatures on earth. After much debate over years scientist finally settled for the fact that the seahorses are fish. We have gathered sea horse facts for kids to introduce this amazing fish to the kids. It is a masterpiece of nature known to have amazed the botanist all over the globe for its unique features among pieces.
Seahorse Facts For Kids
Basic Sea Horse Facts
It’s genus name is Hippocampus composed of two words; hippos meaning horses and kampos for monsters. There are 54 species that come under this genus. They are chordate animals of class Actinopterygii belong to the family syngnathidae which have fused jaws.
- Physical Features of Sea Horse
This rare fish on a very limited occurrence of the characteristics of its population, is a vertical swimmer as against Seahorse and Razor fish all other pipeline fishes swim horizontally.
- Though they share the class of bony fishes i.e. actinoptergyii, they have no scales, rather just a thin skin over bony plates which highlights the visible rings formed on the trunk.
- Coronet is a group of spines found over head which look like a crown and is distinctly different for each individual.
- It’s really hard to imagine a fish with a flexible and well defined neck, but we must not forget that we are talking about the extraordinary entity of marine life.
- Seahorse not only have a well-defined neck but also a horse like head, monkey like prehensile tail , kangaroo like pouch and a chameleon like eyes which can move independently of each other.
- Unlike most pipeline fishes of its family it does not have a caudal fin which naturally makes it a slow swimmer, in fact the slowest fish on earth is of the genus Hippocampus (H. Zostera).
- Coming on their swimming tactics it’s important to mention that they are not sessile as they use pectoral fins and rapidly flatter dorsal fins to steer. But mostly they are found resting in corals using their prehensile monkey like tails.
- Their god gifted long snouts are used in sucking food. They are truly a master of camouflage which is again quite parallel to that of a chameleon.
- The art of blending their body color with the background and with lots of patience they catch their prey. It is also very 9mportant to mention here that the genetic and anatomical evidences discovered from their fossils suggest that they are highly evolved races.
- They are ectothermic and bilaterally symmetrical. The natural life span estimated by “The Project 2013” is about 3 to 5 years for larger species and 1 year for smaller species. In general they pair remain in close proximity to one another and maintain distance from no pair individuals which suggest that they are not so socializing creatures. Males and females are distinctive and the species are definitely showing sexual dimorphism.
- Seahorses are exclusively marine species and are found in shallow inshore areas up to 8m.These are the flagship species and a charismatic symbol of sea grasses, coral reefs and mangroves.
- They also dwell in estuaries and seaweeds like Sargassum. They normally live in areas of still water and surprisingly 25% of their lifespan are spent resting on corals. They may be attached to them in tiny crevices too.
- It really is amazing the versatility of the seahorse and their natural environment. When you see damaged coral reefs in these bodies of water you will find that some professionals have put artificial coral into them. The goal is to help the seahorse and other living creatures to be able to use that habitat successfully for their own survival.
- They are densely found in red sea, Indian and Pacific oceans. The water of Mexico, USA, Canada, Venezuela, Britain, France, Spain and whole Mediterranean are privileged by their presence.
- Several other countries like China, Japan, India, Gulf, Korea, Thailand and Madagascar are also accounted as home ground for them. The dwarf seahorse (H. zoster) is found in the Bahamas.
- Another monster fish is specifically found from Nova Scotia to Uruguay is Hippocampus Erectus. This community is also reported in estuaries of the Thames. Seahorses are even found to migrate in winters to Ireland as they cannot hibernate being an underwater animal as per a Discovery channel report.
- Seahorses are easily distinct able as the male has a longer tail than females. Males are equipped with a brood pouch on front or ventral side of tail in which female deposits up to 1500 eggs at the time of courtship. For about 9 to 45 days male carries egg in the pouch and finally small yet fully developed off springs are hatched. But once they are out of the pouch absolutely no parental care is provided to the tiny tots.
- As a result of gestation comforts the survival rate is 0.5% which is considerably higher among fishes.
- Their courtship is marked by a short term color change. They even show a “pre-dawn dance” by gripping same strand of grass with their tails or side holding of tails and wheel in unison.
- They are monogamous in nature and breed frequently.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
We already discussed the ability of seahorses to exploit their capacity to camouflage and catch food. They have to show great patience to prey small crustaceans crawling on top or floating in water. They also eat some larval fishes and invertebrates to meet their energy demands.
Threat to Extinction
- It’s a Herculean task to estimate the threat of extinction for such a gem of nature as we hardly know the actual population diversity to date. Yet this little organism is disappearing at an alarming rate.
- First of all the pollution and habitat destruction (like the corals) is one of the major problems faced by the researcher troubled by their decline. Unbridled catching by fishermen adds to the catastrophe as they are used in making traditional medicines and Herbology in countries like China, Indonesia, Central Filipino and many other ethnic groups.
- They are even caught as an eatable. Unfortunately the seahorses are highly vulnerable and fast approaching to extinct according to a survey conducted by Nation Geographic botanist.
So what do you thing about these beautiful little horses? Share your thoughts with us and share these sea horse facts for kids with your friends.