Short-snouted Seahorse

Hippocampus hippocampus

With their unique body shape and strange swimming style, seahorses appear to be different from other animals found in the ocean. Despite this, they are fish, and share many of the same features with others more typical of this group, including gills, fins and a tail.

With a very slow swimming speed of only a few metres an hour, seahorses usually prefer to stay in one place. Using their gripping, prehensile tail, they can hold on to seagrass blades and resist ocean currents which would otherwise drag them into deeper waters.

A well-known fact about the seahorse is that the males are the ones to give birth to the young, however, less well known is the work of the females. These hard-working mothers can produce twice the number of eggs due to the time saved by passing the eggs to the males. Even so, seahorse numbers are low.

They are delicate creatures which need a safe, protective environment to thrive. Seagrass meadows are vital to the survival of this enigmatic animal.

Spiny Seahorse. Credit Georgie Bull
Spiny Seahorse. Credit Georgie Bull

Did you know?

Seahorses are able to look in two directions at once. This means they can look out for predators and prey at the same time.

Where I am

In the UK, short-snouted seahorses live along the southern coast in shallow, sheltered waters. They can be found in estuaries and in seagrass meadows. As a protected species, it is illegal to disturb a seahorse and licenses must be arranged before any searched for these elusive creatures can be made.