Saturday, October 27, 2018

Seahorses

Seahorses are grouped with pipefishes, pipehorses and seadragons as members of the family Syngnathidae. They are of the same order (Gasterosteiformes) as cornetfishes, pegasids (seamoths), snipefishes, sticklebacks and trumpetfishes. Seahorses are thought to have evolved at least 40 million years ago.

They are generally characterized by a sparse distribution, low mobility, small home ranges, low fecundity, lengthy parental care and mate fidelity. In addition, the male seahorse, rather than the female, becomes pregnant.

Seahorses occupy both temperate and tropical coastal waters, with a distribution from about 50 degrees north to 50 degrees south. They may usually be found among corals, macro algae, mangrove roots and seagrasses, but some live on open sandy or muddy bottoms.

In a marine environment, depending on their species, seahorses feed on amphipods, copepods, shrimp, and larval fish. When juvenile seahorses leave the male’s pouch they are very similar to the adult seahorse, but smaller in size. Immediately after birth, seahorses are able to feed on live prey.

The body armor of seahorses is composed of plates that overlay to allow ventral bending. The armor is flexible and fracture resistant due to the complex plate and segments designed to slide and slip when compressed. Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems so quickly that they must eat almost constantly to stay alive.
Seahorses
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