What you don’t know about Seahorses
Did you know that seahorses have a crazy mad but beautiful mating ritual? What about that when giving birth seahorses defy all gender norms? The seahorse is also a super deadly animal believe it or not, but also very fragile! This animal is one of the most fascinating creatures I have come across. It’s so strange and weird and beautiful that I find them absolutely captivating. Which is exactly why I want to share all this cool information with you.
First the Basics
The first thing you need to know about seahorses is that they are a fish. Yes, I know, they are weird shaped and don’t look at all like a normal fish but those crazy scientists classified them as fish so here we are. Next, is how they fit into the food chain. Shrimp, plankton and itty bitty fishies are the seahorse’s snack of choice. They also eat tiny crustaceans which is only fair as crustaceans are also their only true predator. Crabs are about the sole animals that go out and hunt for seahorses to eat. However, the seahorse does have other predators such as rays, tuna, and seabirds. Each of these tend to eat them more by accident or mistake though, they haven’t been recorded to actively hunt for seahorses.
The habitat of the seahorse may be one reason they don’t have many predators. Seahorses live on corals and in sea grasses. This is because they can easily grab onto grasses and coral structures. In case you didn’t know, seahorses are awful swimmers. that’s why they need to stay in one spot or small area. Seahorses have also developed wicked camouflage that allows them to blend into their surroundings. Their camo skills are so good that some seahorses can even change colors to blend into different colored reefs.
That Crazy Mad but Beautiful Mating Ritual
Ever dream about old fashion love? Courtship, romantic dancing, good morning snuggles or a true love that lasts forever? Well, seahorses don’t just dream it, they live it. It begins once two seahorses find each other and decide to give it a try. They first go on a few dates. These dates usually happen in the morning when the two meet up and dance. Wait, wait, wait, dance? Yep, dancing. Seahorses have what’s called a prehensile tail (like monkeys), which they use to hold on to each other. Then they swim about in fancy circles and patterns and even change colours. The seahorses will meet every morning for several days before they will ‘do the deed.’
Once they’ve conceived, the seahorses continue to meet every morning where they wrap around each other for hugs and snuggles. Starting to wish your significant other was just like a seahorse? Well, maybe don’t wish too hard. Many people believe that seahorses mate for life. This can be true but it is more correct to say that they breed with a singular partner for one breeding season. Sorry to burst you bubble, I really hoped it was love for life too. On the bright side, seahorses are totally monogamous during the breeding season which means they are faithful and don’t cheat on each other!
Soooo Many Babies!
I don’t know about you but when I think of having more than two kids I feel a little stressed! Try having up to a 1000 or more babies… in one delivery! As a female That just sounds too painful, but its not the female you should feel sorry for, it’s the male. Confused? That’s okay not everyone knows that it is the male seahorse that gets pregnant and gives live birth. Talk about dad and husband of the year! Not only do seahorses have tons of babies in one pregnancy they have lots of pregnancies too! Sometimes the male will give birth in the morning and then be pregnant again by that evening! Some of those guys have it easier than others though. Depending on the species pregnancies can last anywhere from 9-45 days.
One of the deadliest animals in the sea, nay, the world
The seahorse!? What about lions and tigers and bears (Oh My!)? Well sure these guys are pretty scary but that doesn’t mean they are the deadliest! These large animals don’t catch too many of the animals they hunt, most, less than 50%. Meanwhile, the seahorse traps and kills over 90% of it’s prey. What’s even more amazing is that the they catch their prey without teeth! Seahorses don’t even have teeth. Instead, the seahorse uses its long snout like a straw and sucks up tiny plankton and other yummy treats.
Want to know what’s even more crazy about seahorses? They eat almost all day, and they don’t even get fat. sometimes I wish I could eat all day and not get fat. Then I remember that the seahorse needs to eat all day to stay alive. This is because they have no stomach. Not having a stomach means that seahorses are never full, and due to heir super fast metabolism they need to keep eating continuously!
Sooo Weird, but Sooo Cool
Yes, after reading all these awesome facts you probably think that these animals are super weird. But, that is exactly why I love them, that and they are super cute! You might even want to see one in real life! If that’s the case I swish you luck, they can be really tricky to find, especially because they are endangered. This has a lot to do with humans. Many people like to buy dead seahorses as decorations… The people that sell them will often take them from the wild. That’s right! That now means there is a sad seahorse mate out there missing it’s lover… So don’t be that guy!
Another reason seahorses are endangered is the same problem most animals on the planet face. Habitat reduction. Seahorses live on corals and sea grasses both of with are typically found in shallower water near the mainland and islands. However, where there is land there is human activity and pollution. Garbage and toxins leak into the sea everyday by the tons… this makes seahorses vulnerable as it kills the corals and other vital parts of the ecosystem.
How to Help Seahorses
- Reduce pollution! Use earth friendly products, car pool, walk, cut out single use plastics!
- If you are a diver practice good buoyancy,especially around corals!
- Help research with the research by reporting seahorse sightings to Project Seahorse (they even have a handy app to make life easier)
- Stop using sunscreens that contain OXYBENZONE! This chemical kills corals and causes cancer in humans. Plus there are way better alternatives.
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