Open Soon : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM

  • Wednesday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Saturday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Sunday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Monday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday : 10:00AM - 05:00 PM

8 Facts About Seahorses You Should Know

Seahorses are some of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean, with their unique characteristics and behaviours setting them apart from other marine life. Despite their fish classification, seahorses boast distinctive traits that make them truly distinct from other fish.

The peculiar appearance and unique behaviours of seahorses makes them stand out amongst other marine life.

Here we dive deeper into the extraordinary world of seahorses, as we uncover eight fascinating facts that highlight their remarkable adaptations and lifestyles.

Seahorses are fish, but with a twist

At first glance, seahorses may not resemble typical fish due to their lack of scales and their general appearance. However, they are indeed true fish, equipped with essential fish features such as a swim bladder, fins, and gills. What sets them apart is their bony plates that cover their bodies instead of scales, giving them a distinct appearance.

They’re slow swimmers

Unlike some of their agile counterparts in the ocean, seahorses are known for their sluggish movements. With only a tiny dorsal fin to propel themselves, they are the slowest-moving fish in the world. Despite this limitation, they possess remarkable manoeuvrability, capable of moving in all directions – up, down, backward, and forward.

Tail anchors for rest

Seahorses possess prehensile tails, enabling them to grasp onto objects such as coral or seaweed to anchor themselves when they need to rest. This unique adaptation allows them to conserve energy and maintain stability in their marine habitat.

Wide distribution

Seahorses have adapted to various aquatic environments, inhabiting temperate and tropical waters worldwide. They can be found in almost every ocean, except the frigid waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Typically, they prefer shallow waters with abundant vegetation, where they can seek refuge and find ample food sources.

British coastal residents

Off the coast of Britain, two species of seahorses make their home: the spiny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix) and the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus). These charming creatures are a testament to the diverse marine life thriving in British waters.

The short-snouted seahorse can typically be found along the south coast of England, usually in shallower waters like estuaries. They can vary in colour from light brown to purple, and they don’t have a mane like other seahorse species!

The spiny seahorse, also known as the long-snouted seahorse, is easily recognised by the fleshy mane on its back and neck. They are green-yellow in colour, and usually found along the south coast of England and Wales.

Unique feeding habits

Seahorses have peculiar feeding habits due to their anatomy. Using their elongated snouts like a vacuum cleaner, they suck up prey without the ability to chew. Astonishingly, seahorses lack a stomach, leading them to disintegrate food as they ingest it. To sustain themselves, they must consume copious amounts of food, feeding an astonishing 30-50 times a day.

Unconventional parenting

In the animal kingdom, seahorses stand out for their unconventional parenting roles. Unlike most species, it’s the male seahorse that bears the responsibility of pregnancy and childbirth. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch, where he nurtures them until they’re ready to hatch. Gestation periods vary from 2-4 weeks, with males giving birth to live young. Depending on the species, a male seahorse may carry anywhere from 50 to 1,500 eggs.

Masters of camouflage

Seahorses are masters of disguise, employing intricate camouflage techniques to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Their colouration and the presence of chromatophores within their skin cells allow them to mimic their environment, making them virtually invisible to predators like crabs. This remarkable adaptation enhances their chances of survival in the vast ocean.

From their unique appearance to their remarkable behaviours, seahorses continue to captivate the imagination of all who see them!

Despite their delicate nature and conservation challenges, these extraordinary creatures serve as a brilliant reminder of the diversity and wonder of marine creatures.

You can see them in the flesh at Hastings Aquarium by booking your tickets now!

Get Blue Reef news and offers right to your inbox!