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Seahorse

Page history last edited by Jordyn Kimmel 9 years, 3 months ago

The Seahorse

By: Jordyn Kimmel

 

Description:

 

     Seahorse is a name given to 54 species of marine fish in the genus Hippocampus. "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek, hippos meaning horse and kampos meaning monster. Seahorses do not have scales but rather thin skin stretched over a sequence of bony plates. These plates are arranged in rings throughout the body. Unusual among fish, seahorses have a well defined neck and swim upright instead of horizontal. Seahorses use their dorsal fins to propel forward and can use their prehensile tails to grab onto sea grasses and corals. Their eyes can move independently of each other, helpful when keeping an eye out for predators. Each seahorse has a coronet or “crown” on top of its head. The coronet is a bony projection whose height and thickness are important characters for species identification. It has been said that no two coronets are alike much like human fingerprints. 

 

 

 

 

Habitat:

 

     Seahorses are normally located in shallow, tropical, warm waters. Due to the fact that they cannot swim well, seahorses live in areas that are slow and still. If they were to live in agressive oceans, seahorses would die of complete exhaustion. These marine creatures can be found living among coral, sea grass and hiding in mangrove forests. Larger species have been located in the Mediterranean Sea. 

 

 

 

 

Prey Adaptations:

 Sting rays, manta rays, crabs, tuna, penguins and even humans eat seahorses. Seahorses can hide from predators by blending into their environment when threatened. (Usually nearby coral or seaweed.) If they feel vulnerable, seahorses can also change color to blend in with their surroundings. Since seahorses are not strong creatures they do not have any physical defense mechanisms. Seahorses can move each of their eyes independently, useful when looking out for predators.

 

Predator Adaptations:

     Seahorses are omnivorous creatures that feed on small crustaceans floating in the water and aquatic plants. Examples of substances consisting in the seahorse diet are, plankton, shrimp, algae and other tiny species of fish. Because they are not strong swimmers, seahorses cannot catch their prey. They use their elongated tails to grab onto coral to steady themselves while they wait for prey. It requires a lot of patience, but when the time is right the seahorses use their snouts to suck up floating crustaceans. 

 

 

 

Symbiosis:

     Seahorses have a commensalism relationship with coral and seagrass. Commensalism means that one organism benefits from a symbiotic relationship while the other is unaffected. The seahorses benefit from hiding in the seagrass from predators while the seagrass is remains unharmed. The coral provides easy access for the seahorses to grab onto as they rest while the coral stays unharmed. 

 

 

 

Species Comparison: Pipefish

 

Similarities: 

 

      Both creatures are unique in design. They have long, thin snouts and dorsal fins to help them swim. Both seahorses and pipefish need to anchor onto their natural surroundings to rest as they are both very poor swimmers. Seahorses and pipefish are not very active creatures. Because they do not have digestive systems, seahorses and pipefish need to eat very often to maintain their energy and nutrients. 

 

Differences: 

 

     Seahorses and pipefish are not very different. For the most part they are exactly alike. The main differences are as follows. The seahorse has a pectoral fin but the pipefish does not. The pipefish can survive in freshwater but a seahorse would die in minutes. A seahorse's size can rage from 0.6 inches to 14 inches and a pipefish's size can range from 4 inches to 8 inches. 

 

 

 

Resources: 

 

1) No author. Seahorse. No date. Found on May 20, 2013, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/sea-horse/  

2) Seahorse.Photography. Encyclopedia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 20 May 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/149_2083486

3) No author. Seahorse facts and information. Written in 2009. Found on May 23, 2013. Seahorse habitat.

http://www.seahorseworlds.com/seahorse-habitat.html

 4) SPOTTED SEAHORSE.[Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica Image Quest. http://quest.eb.com/images/138_1168484

5) Long snout Sea Horse.Photograph. Encyclopedia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 23 May 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/130_567410

6) Chris Rowling, eHow contributor, What eats a seahorse? May 28,  2013. http://www.ehow.com/info_8378790_eats-seahorses.html

7) Lined Seahorse.Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 28 May 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/139_1934883

8) THORNY SEAHORSE.Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 28 May 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/138_1046582

9) Seahorse And Pipefish.Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 2 Jun 2013.http://quest.eb.com/images/139_1926059

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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