The Short-Snouted Seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus) is a marine (saltwater) animal in the Syngnathidae family. It is a teleostfish.
The Short-Snouted Seahorse can be black, purple, orange, or brown. Its snout (nose) is short and up-turned. It has a forward tilt, and a long, coiled tail. The male has a smooth, soft pouch-like area at the base of its abdomen, with a small fin. The female has a pointed stomach and a larger fin at the base of her abdomen. Each eye moves separately, enabling it to see its predators from all directions.
It grows to about 15 centimetres (6 inches) long.
It is found in the oceans of the Mediterranean Sea, and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean. It prefers to live among algae, seagrasses, and rocky reefs in shallow, muddy water.
It may attach itself to sponges, jetty piles, and other objects in the water, using its tail to wrap around the object.
It eats seaweed and plankton. It does not chew its food. It sucks ups planktonic animals (like a vacuum cleaner) in its small mouth. It also eats crabs, shrimp, and other small aquatic animals.
The Short-Snouted Seahorse swims using its dorsal fin, keeping its vertical position.
It lives in colonies. Courtship involves a series of colour changes. The male lightens its pouch colour to white or light-yellow, while also brightening its overall body colour, typically to yellow.
The female transfers her eggs to the male. She squirts her eggs through the opening in the front of his dilated pouch. The male looks after the young. The male Short-Snouted Seahorsebroods 300-700 young at a time.
[Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM