Fun Facts about the Seahorse
Amongst the most unusual of the fun facts about the Seahorse is that it is the slowest animal in all of the oceans. The slowest of them is the dwarf Seahorse which can propel itself up to 5 feet an hour. Not bad for an animal that is less than an inch tall.
The seahorse is classified as a fish because it does breathe thru gills and propels itself with fins. The fin is on the tail of the animal and can move up to 50 times a second. Because the fin is so small, the seahorse can maneuver it tight quarters very well but not move over long distances easily.
There are 53 different species of seahorses that live in the worlds' warm oceans. They range in size from as small as an inch and up to fourteen inches. Their nearest cousins are pipefish and sea-dragons. Seahorses live in the tropical oceans and other area where the temperature stays relatively warm. They inhabit shallow waters in coral beds and areas covered with sea grass. Some species have the ability to change color and can camouflage themselves to their surroundings as a means of protecting themselves from predators. Their main predator are crabs. The sea horse body itself does not contain much flesh or muscle, so most sea carnivores choose not to feast on the small bony sea horse. See the representation of the Seahorse above in the picture of the Seahorse Napkins.
The seahorse is a different in that it not have a stomach and because of this, they constantly have to feed. Their main sources of nutrients are seaweeds, plankton and small crustaceans. They eat up to 3,000 brine shrimp a day to fuel themselves. They also do not have teeth. The food is sucked into their mouths thru a tube like appendage and then it is digested with the nutrients being directly absorbed by their body. They are capable of sucking in food from up to 1 inch away.
The seahorse is one of the few animals that has a life partner. Everyday a partnered pair can be seen in a courting ceremony where they dance in the water and have been known to change colors. This can last up to 8 hours a day. To reproduce the female lays her eggs in a pouch in the male where he fertilizes them and carries the eggs until they hatch. The gestation cycle can last several weeks to a month and the male waits it out while attached to a branch of coral near them. When they eggs hatch they emerge from the pouch and resemble their parents in miniature. Less than 1% of all eggs that hatch reach the age of maturity in the wild. The number of seahorses eggs at times can be a few as 5 and as great as 1,500, depending on the specific species of seahorse.
by Douglas Gray
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