Slender Seahorse

The Slender Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Syngnathidae family. It is a teleostfish. It is also known as the Longsnout Seahorse.

The Slender Seahorse is brightly-coloured. The male is usually orange and the female is usually yellow. Both the male and the female have small brown or white spots unevenly over their body. During courtship, the spots may change colour to pink. Its snout (nose) is thin with a stub end. Each eye moves separately, enabling it to see its predators from all directions.

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. 

Slender Seahorse

It grows to about 17 centimetres (6 inches) tall. 

It is found in waters off sub-tropical countries, such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, the United States of America, and Venezuela. It prefers to live among algae, seagrasses, mangroves, and rocky coral 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 up planktonic animals (like a vacuum cleaner) in its small mouth. It also eats crabs, shrimp, and other small aquatic animals.

The Slender Seahorse swims using its dorsal fin, keeping its vertical position and leaning forward. 

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 orange. 

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 Slender Seahorsebroods 300-700 young at a time. 

[Location of photographs: London Zoo, England]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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