What Makes Seahorses So Special?
Seahorses are a unique fish that mainly reside in grassy areas in the shallow ocean. They are unusual in many ways, not just because of their equine shape. They mate for life, and are among the rare few species on Earth where the male gives birth. They mainly live in tropical and temperate climates, where the most coral reefs are found.
Lifestyle and Adaptations
A small animal like a seahorse, only about 0.6 to 14 inches long, they face many predators. To evade predators, seahorses are able to camouflage into any background by quickly changing color. They have even been known to match floating debris by turning bright red. This camouflaging ability is present in both males and females, and frequently displayed during mating behaviors.
While seahorses are able to thrive in shallow waters, their upright shape makes them poor swimmers. In fact, they can often die from exhaustion in stormy seas, where they are unable to keep swimming correctly. However, seahorses have other useful adaptations. Their tail, which is very mobile, can be used to anchor them to rocks or sea grass in a stormy environment. Additionally, they have incredible eyesight and can move either eye independently. This is especially important, since they hunt for food visually.
They mainly graze on small crustaceans. An adult seahorse eats about 30-50 times a day! Baby seahorses, called fry, eat about 3,000 small shrimp a day. With these dietary requirements, they must be able to find food quickly, and eat as efficiently as possible. Seahorses don't chew their food, but instead suck it up like a vacuum cleaner through their snout. Their snout can reach otherwise inaccessible prey in small spaces, while expanding for larger pieces of food.
Since seahorses live shallow waters, they are more prone to feel the effects of human activity. Ocean pollution and coastal habitat depletion, which comes with development along our temperate beaches, is one of their main threats. The Curio Trade, for which approximately 150 million seahorses are harvested, is a major threat. Seahorses are harvested and left to dry in the sun, a terrible death that ultimately culminates in their exoskeleton being sold as souvenirs. In order to protect these beautiful creatures, please donate to the sources below.