Six Weird Facts About Seahorses
The beautiful seahorse is instantly recognizable with its long snout and fast-fanning pectoral fins. You might have even found one dried out and washed up on the beach. But did you know these six interesting facts about seahorses?
1. Unlike most fish, which swim belly down, the seahorse swims upright in order to mimic sea reeds and grasses and protect itself from predators. In fact, some seahorse species, like the Leafy Sea Horse, are even better at mimicking plants as they have evolved to look just like the leaves around them. (1)
2. The Latin name for the seahorse is Hippocampus and it translates as ‘Horse Caterpillar’. Interestingly, in humans, there is a part of the brain that is also called the hippocampus because it resembles a seahorse. (2,3)
3. Seahorses pair for life and their preferred method of swimming is to entwine their tales together so that they don’t lose each other in the currents. Every morning the paired seahorses dance together to reaffirm their partnership. (4)
4. There are forty known species of seahorse. These range in size from the tiny Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse, which measures just 2.5 cm, to the biggest seahorse in the world, the Big Belly Seahorse, which measures 35cm. (5)
5. Although not many predators will deliberately hunt a seahorse, due to their bony-plated bodies making them too indigestible, the seahorse itself is a fantastic predator and a master at ambushing small crustaceans. They are not brilliant swimmers, so choose to hide in the sea reeds until a prey animal walks by, then jump out on them, sucking them up through their tube-like mouth. (6)
6. In the seahorse world, it is the male who carries the young. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s ‘brood pouch’ which is similar to a kangaroo pouch. Here they are fertilised and grow until the male goes into labour and expels the tiny replica seahorses in clouds of live young into the sea where they are left to fend for themselves. (7)