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Seahorses: the magnificant horses of the water

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Seahorses compose the fish genus Hippocampus within the family Syngnathidae, in order Syngnathiformes. Syngnathidae also includes the pipefishes. "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning “sea monster”.[2]

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There are nearly 50 species of seahorse. They are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. They prefer to live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, coral reefs, or mangroves. Colonies have been found in European waters such as the Thames Estuary.[3] From North America down to South America there are approximately four species, ranging from the very small (dwarf seahorses are only about 2.5 cm (0.98 in)) to much larger specimens off the Pacific Coast of Central America (the foot-long H. ingens). H. erectus are larger seahorses that range from Nova Scotia to around Uruguay. Three species live in the Mediterranean Sea: H. hippocampus (long snout), H. brevirostris (short snout) and H. fuscus (immigrated from the Red Sea). These fish form territories, with males staying in about 1 square meter (11 sq ft) of their habitat while females range about one hundred times that area. They bob around in sea grass meadows, mangrove stands, and coral reefs where they adopt murky brown and gray patterns to camouflage themselves among the sea grass. During social moments or in unusual surroundings, seahorses turn bright colors. (Thhank you Wikapedia for this general description of Seahorses)

Leafy sea dragon

(Phycodurus eques)
There are only two species of sea dragons in the world. These rare and beautiful members of the seahorse family are found in the waters of southern and western Australia. The leafy sea dragons’ green and yellow leaf-like fins provide perfect camouflage amid the seaweeds and sea grasses where they live. Like the seahorse, the male sea dragon carries the eggs (but on a "brood patch" located on the tail instead of in a stomach pouch). "Leafies" can grow up to 13 inches long.

Potbelly seahorse

(Hippocampus abdominalis)
When it comes to a male potbelly's pouch, size matters. Bigger is better for attracting females, so courting males pump their pouches full of water. One of the larger seahorse species, "potbellies" are found in the waters of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania in seagrass beds and rocky reefs, or attached to jetties and man-made objects along the coast. They come in mottled colors ranging from white to deep browns or yellows and olive greens. The adults average 10 to 12 inches long.

Pacific seahorse

(Hippocampus ingens)
Measuring up to a foot tall, Pacific seahorses are among the giants of the seahorse world. The Pacific seahorse is the only seahorse species found along the California coast, ranging from San Diego Bay to Peru, and is usually found in shallow beds of soft corals and gorgonians. This nocturnal species comes in a variety of colors, including gray, brown, red and yellow, which often match its surroundings. The Pacific seahorse is listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is a species of seahorse. It is found in the Bahamas and the United States. Its natural habitat is subtidal aquatic beds. It is threatened by habitat loss. According to Guinness World Records, it is the slowest moving fish, with a top speed of about five feet per hour (152 cm per hour).[1]

It is most often white in color but can range from tan, brown, yellow and green. In the wild, it often has small skin growths called cirri that resemble algae.

Hippocampus kuda, also known as the common seahorse, is a member of the family Syngnathidae of the order Syngnathiformes. The common sea horse is a small, equine-like fish, with extraordinary breeding methods.[2] Greeks and Romans believed the seahorse was an attribute of the sea god Poseidon/Neptune, and the seahorse was considered a symbol of strength and power. Europeans believed that the seahorse carried the souls of deceased sailors to the underworld - giving them safe passage and protection until they met their soul's destination.[3] The common seahorse is considered a vulnerable species.[1]

Thank you Monterey Bay Aquarium and Wikapedia for this excellent infomation about Seahorses.

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