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Seahorses

In: Science

Submitted By Caitthom
Words 505
Pages 3
Seahorses are one of the most unique species of fish found in the ocean. All forty species belong to the genus Hippocampus in the family of Syngnathidae, along with pipefish and sea dragons. Although most people think that seahorses aren’t fish because of their untraditional appearance, they actually belong to the same class as all other bony fish. If a seahorse stretched out on its stomach, it would easy to see that it is a fish. They have all of the basic functions of fish, such as breathing through gills, the ability to control their buoyance, and they have fins. They get their name because of their unusual appearance. The Latin word Hippocampus can be broken down into two parts; Hippo meaning horse, and campus meaning sea monster. Seahorses live in tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. They tend to stay in around shallow waters during the summer months, while they move out to deeper waters in the winter months to avoid low water temperatures. They typically live in areas with a lot of coral or seaweed because they are not efficient swimmers. Their back fins flutter nearly 50 times per minute, so they tire fast. They have been known to die of exhaustion when they swim in or against strong currents. Since seahorses do not have teeth, they use their long snouts to suck up small plankton and crustaceans. They do not have stomachs either, so food passes through them quickly. Because of this, they are forced to feed almost constantly and adults can consume up to 3,000 brine shrimp in a single day. Since each of their eyes works independently, they are able to search larger areas more efficiently. The adults who are more experienced exert less energy to capture their prey, while the juveniles are less skilled tend to be more targeted. One of the most unique aspects of seahorses is their mating patterns and habits. It is suspected that the male and females spend a week dating and showing off their cool dance moves before they actually mate. The female plants the eggs in the males’ front facing pouch. There the eggs grow and mature for anywhere between 2 weeks to a month. A rapid sneezing motion ends the pregnancy and the babies shoot out of a small hole. The average male seahorse gives birth to anywhere from 100- 300 babies. Since Seahorses are so small in size, anywhere from 2 centimeters to 14 inches, they are easy prey for larger fish. They do have the ability to camouflage themselves, based on their environments or surroundings. They support and hide themselves by wrapping their tails around anything stationary, such as coral or seaweed. They are not strong swimmers alone so the adults hold tails for better efficiency. Seahorses are very susceptible to extinction because they are captured in the wild, bred, and used for things such as souvenirs, food, pets, medicine and jewelry. They are also impacted by the constant destruction of coral reefs and other marine life.…...

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