Seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus. There are nearly 54 species in this genus. The size of the seahorse may range from mm to cm. The smallest seahorse size may start from half an inch and the longest seahorse size may range up to 8 inches tall. Some seahorses are very small that it makes difficult to find them. These are the small marine fishes which are mostly found in tropical water bodies which are quietly warm and they live in areas like sea grass beds, estuaries, and mangroves. "Hippocampus" word is derived from the Ancient Greek word hippos meaning "horse" and Campos meaning "sea monster" or a caterpillar. Seahorses are aquatic mostly marine. They breathe through gills and they have a swim bladder. They are classified under Class Actinopterygii in which we can also see large fish like Tuna and cod as these fishes are bony fish. The lifespan of the Seahorse is nearly three years and these animals are carnivorous in nature. A number of seahorses form a group and the group is termed as "Herd".
The size of Seahorses ranges from 0.6 inches to 14 inches. These are the bony fish with no scales on their body. Seahorses are classified under fish because they have gills as their respiratory organs. Besides these scales, seahorses have ring- like structures throughout their body. They can swim upright pushing themselves by using dorsal fin on their back which, flutters up to 35 times per second. They swim upright so that they can avoid predators by mixing with the color of underwater plants. They have long snouts, which are used to they suck up food. Seahorse has eyes that can move independently of each other like chameleon's eyes. Seahorses have excellent eyesight. They can look forward and backwardsm]
At the same time, which helps them to hunt for food by sight. It is difficult to find out the traits of the species because individuals of the same trait can have great variation in their appearance.
Unlike other fish, these animals have an exoskeleton. They have a prehensile tail , which allows them to get a grip onto the seaweeds to prevent them from being washed by strong currents. Seahorses are becoming extinct because their habitats like coral leaves and sea grass beds are deteriorating. They prefer to live to live in those places where there is more shadow, warm temperate. Seahorses have a very wonderful character of changing colors so quickly and matches with the surroundings where they live. This property helps them to survive from predators which depend on them for food.
Unlike a fish, a seahorse has an adjustable and distinct star neck. Seahorse also has a spine on its head called as Coronet. This is well defined for all species. Seahorses can eat 3,000 or more brine shrimps per day. The Seahorses will also make growling sounds when they depressed. They can wrap their tail around whatever substrate is available there. Top seahorse is one kind of seahorse, which is an herbivore and feeds on only plant life in the sea. Seahorses are becoming extinct as they are being hunted in china to use them in herbal forms. Human uses these seahorses in many ways. They have medicinal values.
Reproduction in Seahorses:
Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life. Each male seahorse is provided with a pouch on the front facing side of their tail. They are oviparous animals (egg laying animals). A female seahorse can deposit about 100 or more eggs in the pouch located at the abdomen of the male. The egg fertilizes when sperm is released into the pouch of the male. Then the embryos start to develop within the male's pouch. The embryos get nutrients from their own yolk sacs.
Depending on the species, the incubation period of embryos varies from 2 to 6 weeks. The embryo in the pouch will receive oxygen and food they need. After the development of an embryo, the male gives birth to very small young ones which measure in mm. When the offspring's are released into the water, the role of the male is over and immediately within hours he starts to mate for procreation. Giving birth can be a long process with contractions lasting up to 12 hours.
Baby Seahorses are termed as fry. Once they are born, they start to live on their own. They live first two to three weeks by drifting along the plankton region of the ocean. Among the thousands of the young ones, only a few of them will survive to become an adult because of predators.
BIOLOGICAL COMPONENTS WHICH SEAHORSES DIFFERENT:
? Seahorses prefer to swim in pairs by linking their tails together.
? The seahorses appear like they wore armor and their body are covered with bony rings.
? Seahorses have a property of camouflage which will be useful for them to be embedded with tall eelgrasses and seaweeds in which they make their own homes to live.
? The seahorse feeds on plankton and larva by using its mouth, which is located at the end of the tube like structure called snout.
? IUCN listed several species as Vulnerable or Data Deficient; 1 species listed as Endangered.
? They swim upright and avoid predators by mixing with the colour of underwater plants.
? Because of their body shape, seahorses are very poor swimmers. Due to this reason, seahorses will die when they caught in stormy coiled seas.
? Seahorses have to eat food constantly because of their body design having no teeth and stomach. The food consumed by them will directly pass through the digestive system which urges the seahorses to eat more food.
? Seahorses consume about 3000 or more shrimps per day.
? These animals are monogamous in nature and mate for life.
? Seahorses are rare in nature still they have a unique feature of bearing an unborn young one in the pouch of a male seahorse.
? Seahorses will engage for every 8-hour courtship which includes swimming side by side, spinning around and changing colors.
? Female seahorse lays more eggs straight away to reproduce quickly.
Thus the Seahorses are unique in many features that make them different from remaining animal kinds.