|Back to List of Articles
"Seahorse Love Story"
(Nature's most fascinating and mythical creature)
|By: LeRoy French
14 May 2009
Most people are familiar with the Seahorse. I remember as a child my parents taking me to the aquarium and I would be hypnotized watching
this creature with a head like a horse, eyes that rotated in all directions like some kind of lizard, and it even had a pouch on the front like a Kangaroo.
The Seahorse is actually a fish ranging in size from 6 to 8 inches and is
equipped with excellent camouflaging qualities, so they are very difficult
to see in their natural habitat. They come in various colors and stripes,
red and yellow seem to be the most predominate color.
When this fish was created it was truly an amazing creation. The reason
why is simple. First of all it swims in an upright position with its head
bent. It uses its dorsal fins to propel itself backwards and forwards and
its pectoral fins for steering and turning. To add even more fascinating
facts the Seahorse has no stomach or teeth, as a result food passes
through their digestive system very quickly, because of this they need
to eat constantly to stay alive. They feed on small living things such as
brine shrimp and can consume in excess of 3000 brine shrimp in one
day. Of special interest is the fact that they have a single mate for their
entire life which is usually between 1 and 5 years.
One of the most remarkable things about this animal is its mating
habits. The love story goes like this. Every morning, they come
together, dance, and twirl around with their tails linked together. Once the
dance is finished they separate for the rest of the day. But the love
story doesn’t end there. While mating, seahorses utter musical sounds
and mating is usually done under a full moon. WOW! But it's still not
over. Seahorses are the only animals in the entire animal kingdom
whereby the male has babies. The female seahorse deposits eggs in
the male's small pouch and these eggs are then fertilized by the male.
The reason I chose this topic today was to first introduce you the reader,
to what special residents we have in nature, and secondly, to make you
aware of what has happened to our Seahorses. Today they are
vanishing at a rapid rate due to the coastal runoff caused by the clearing
of land and coastal developement. This animal is very delicate and
does not relocate well. Periodically we will see one on a dive site, but
sightings are becoming very rare. These animals live in shallow water in
the seagrass and mangroves close to shore so they are very vulnerable
to human impact. Seahorses have been protected since 2004 and if
we are not careful we chance to lose one of the most unusual and
magical creatures known to nature. 25 million seahorses where traded in
one year throughout Asia, for souvenirs, curios, (shell shops) aquariums,
medicinal purposes (?) and tonics.
Nature is so fragile, please help to protect it!