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are cataloged in the genus Hippocampus. The members
of this genus belong to the family Syngnathidae. This family contains over 50
individual species including all seahorses and their close relatives
the pipefish. Seahorses
found in shallow waters of tropical
and temperate zones around the world.
is first recorder in Greek poetry. Hippos
means horse and campus
translates to sea monster. Ancient
Greeks and Romans believed seahorses were a gift from the sea god
Poseidon/Neptune. Despite their fragility, seahorses were perceived to
symbol strength and power. There are three species of seahorse found in
the Mediterranean Sea. These are the Hippocampus
hippocampus or long snout, the
or short snout, and the Hippocampus
fuscus which emigrated from its
native habitat in the Red
Europeans thought these equine-like
creatures bore the souls of recently departed sailors, providing them
passage to the underworld and protecting over them until their souls
their destiny. Seahorse fossils have been discovered dating as far back
million years. Here
we will focus both
the seahorse collectively and one specific species Hippocampus kuda
also known as the
common seahorse is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific. Twenty-three
countries have confirmed the presence of H.
Kuda ranging as far south as Australia
to as far north as China.
Seahorses have been
procured by Chinese herbologists for
their purported healing qualities for centuries. Native populations
and the Central
Philippines also use
seahorses as a
component in herbalistic medicines. It
is estimated that up to 20 millions seahorses a year are harvested to
this thriving industry. Over fishing has driven seahorse populations to
verge of becoming endangered species. The common seahorse is currently
a vulnerable species by CITES (the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,
known as the Washington
Convention). CITES has regulated
export of seahorses in this region of the world since 2004.
Unfortunately Indonesia, Japan and South
do not recognize the
trade rules put
in place by the Washington Convention.
are a boney fish. They are devoid of scales. They
have a thin layer of skin stretched over a series of bony plates
rings. Each individual species has a specific number of these rings.
have a cornet on their heeds. These cornets are distinctive to each
No two are identical much like a human fingerprint.
creatures swim vertically, a trait specific to
seahorses. They are poor swimmers who move very slowly in the water.
is achieved by the rapid flutter of the dorsal fin on their backs. They
maneuver with the use of their pectoral fins located behind their eyes.
not possess a caudal (tail) fin. In its place there is a prehensile
they warp around stationary objects to anchor themselves.
In an aquarium seahorses
must be provided with objects to
anchor themselves to. Coral and small branches will suffice nicely.
timid creatures that should never be housed with even moderately
species. They are easily stressed. Prolonged periods of stress will
efficiency of their immune system making them more susceptible to
Gobies and other docile mannered fish will make suitable tank mates.
are primarily bottom dwellers. They will peacefully coexist with
crustaceans and other bottom feeders. This makes them the perfect
a marine reef aquarium. Kudas are among the largest of the seahorse
almost a full foot in length.
aquarist should not attempt to raise seahorses. You
will only accomplish the unnecessary death of a rapidly vanishing
Seahorses are only recommended for
the more experienced saltwater
seahorses are carnivorous. They use their snouts to suck
in zooplankton as a source of nutrition. Upon initial introduction to a
aquarium sea horses may only eat live food offerings. Rotifers,
and brine shrimp should help persuade them to
start feeding. With patience they can be weaned off of live food. These
slow feeders and must not be made to compete for their food.
In recent decades the
captive breeding of seahorses has
become increasingly widespread. The common seahorse is among these
raised specimens. Farm raised seahorses may already be acclimated to
food offerings. These are commonly more expensive than wild caught
However you have a specimen that will not have to endure the shock and
of being yanked out of its natural habitat and placed in the confines
aquarium. Farm raised marine species are more disease resistant and
have a much
higher survivability rate. And you will
not be a participant in the further depletion of an already threatened