What exactly is a seahorse? Well, it’s a fish! It’s horse-shaped head gives it it’s name. Other features include their monkey-like tail, and their color changing abilities like chameleons.
What makes seahorses endangered? Their preferred habitats are coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds and estuaries, which are threatened by development and water pollution.
Threats to the seahorse include:
- Legal and illegal trade for ornamental display (sold dried as souvenirs), aquarium fishes, and traditional Chinese medicine. More than 20 millions of seahorses are estimated to be traded each year for Chinese medicine. Hundreds of thousands of seahorses are sold for the aquarium trade driven primarily by North American. Most of these seahorses are juveniles where they usually die within a short period.
- By catch in the shrimp trawl and other fisheries off of Florida, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
- Habitat degradation and destruction due to coastal development, marine pollution, coral reef destruction, and land-based deforestation. Deforestation leads to increased siltation in surrounding marine waters, thereby suffocating sea grass bed and killing coral reefs.
Fun facts about seahorses:
- They use long snout to absorb tiny shrimp, fish, and plankton.
- In a seahorse’s life cycle, the male is the one to give birth.
- Male can give birth to up several hundred young from one pregnancy.
- They are cousins to pipefish and sea dragons.
- They lack teeth, a stomach, and a caudal fin.