Sea horse is definitely a distinctive creature of the oceans that can be found all over the world. From North America to South America, Bahamas, Europe up-to Asia there are 46 different species has been identified by scientists so far. They are actually fish but, unlike other species they don’t look. These horses do look different as well as they behave. Here are some wildly fun facts about them.
1. Sea horse is actually a fish. They breathe through gills and have bladder for buoyancy. But, unlike fish they don’t have scales. Instead, they have a horse like head, a elongated prehensile tail and the upright swimming posture give them such horse like appearance. They can grow 0.5 inches to 1 feet depending on the species.
They have exoskeleton rather than scales. Which make them such bony creature that is indigestible by other predators. Although, they are on the menu of crabs.
3. They have unique identifying markings. The small crown pattern, called ‘coral net‘ is different on each seahorse much like the stripes of a zebra are unique to each one.
They may appear different even belonging from same species. It is mainly due to their superb camouflage capabilities. They don’t just change the body color but, also mimic the texture of surrounding. Predators swam right past them, never even knowing it was there.
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5. Their eyes work independently of one another. They can keep one eye looking behind them to lookout for predators or other dangers, while the other eye can be used for food search or forward view.
Unlike other fish, sea horses don’t use their distinctive tail to swim. Instead, they use it to anchor themselves with grass or Coral reef. They also use it as a weapon to fight with others for food and territory. But, most interesting couples link their tail and swim along together.
These creatures do have a huge appetite. They don’t have teeth and stomach, so food moves very fast through their digestive system without absorbing much nutrients. Hence, they need to feed almost always. On average, one sea horse eats up-to 3000 shrimps a day.
8. Another distinctive feature being a fish they are very weak swimmers unlike others. In fact, they are the slowest moving in all of the fish species. They have a tiny fin at the middle of their back which can beat 35-50 times a second but, doesn’t make any progress in traveling distances and also become fatally exhausted during sea storms.
9. Seahorses are Monogamous, meaning they mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth where the male bears the unborn young.
While mating, the female seahorse releases up to 50 eggs into a pouch of the male’s abdomen. The male seahorse carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases 5-1500 fully formed babies called ‘Frys‘ into the water.
11. Sea horses are non-migratory and very much terrestrial. The areas can be 5-100 sq. Meters large.
12. They can make sounds, similar to the sound of smacking lips. These sounds are made while feeding and courtship.
Without any scientific trials, up-to 20 million sea horses are consumed by the Chinese as food and medicine for impotence, wheezing, nocturnal enuresis, pain, as well as labor induction.
14. Very sadly, sea horse population decreased by 50% in last 15 years. Largely due to black market trade, over fishing, habitat loss threats and ocean pollution. Import and export of seahorses has been controlled under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) since 15 May 2004. However, Indonesia, Japan, Norway and South Korea have chosen to opt out of the trade rules set by CITES.