As growth proceeds, individuals become mature at approximately cm in length. (“Pacific Seahorses, Hippocampus ingens”, ; Beller, ; Froese and. Find out what’s known about Pacific Seahorses, Hippocampus ingens, Actinopterygii, Syngnathiformes, Syngnathidae, including their world range and habitats. Genus, Hippocampus Rafinesque, – seahorses. Species, Hippocampus ingens Girard, – Pacific giant seahorse, Pacific seahorse, caballito del.
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Giant seahorses are found over reefs, and in protected bay and subtidal seagrass habitats, from m in depth most commonly from m. They are often seen with their tails wrapped around black coral trees, strands of sea grasses and sea whips, and the branches of gorgonian corals, in order to camouflage themselves from predators.
Adult giant seahorses may reach 30 cm in length. Populations display a wide array of body colors, as these animals can change their body color, depending on their environment.
Body colors include maroon, yellow, and muddled brownish-green. The darkish body may have small dark and white spots and longitudinal streaks along the length of the body. The neck is curved at a right angle to the rest of the body. Atop the head is a bony structure called a coronet, which has five points, and an elongate snout extends from the front of the face.
The backbone structure is unlike that of other vertebrates, with knobby, bony plated rings extending along the tail to the trunk. This makes the tail prehensile and flexible, able to coil around seagrass and other objects. This species displays sexual dimorphism: Hippocampus ingens”, ; Koldewey, Smooth, pear-shaped, yellowish eggs are deposited by a female into a male’s breeding pouch, where they are fertilized.
The eggs embed in the lining of the brooding pouch and are supplied with oxygen by surrounding capillaries. They develop for days, depending on water temperature. After release, typically during full moon high tides, pelagic young are independent. Juveniles are approximately 9 mm in length during the first two months of their lives. As growth proceeds, individuals become mature at approximately 5. Although these seahorses are not known to form lifelong pair bonds with mates as some species do, they still exhibit elaborate mating rituals.
Males may be aggressive toward each other in competition for females, head butting and tail wrestling each other. Mating pairs will meet and rub their heads together, then intertwine their tails together and around a blade of sea grass or similar structure, performing a mating “dance” by bobbing up and down together.
This behavior lasts for three days. Finally, a male will display his empty breeding pouch, which the female will fill with eggs using her ovipositor. After mating and transfer of her eggs to a male, a female typically will not mate again until he hippocampuss given birth. Reproductive activity has been observed in giant seahorses as early as 3 months of age in captivity; at this age, clutch sizes tend to be quite small and males are often unsuccessful at courtship displays.
Successful reproductive attempts seem to begin around 6 months of age. Gestation lasts for days and brood sizes of up to have been reported.
A particular breeding season has not been identified for these seahorses, though it is thought that they may breed year round. Young are typically released during full moon high tides, providing optimum levels of resources to juveniles. Hippocampus ingens”, ; Froese and Kesner-Reyes, ; Gomezjurado, Males retain eggs in their brood pouches until they hatch.
After young are released, they are independent and there is no further investment from either parent. Froese and Kesner-Reyes, The lifespan of giant seahorses varies depending on environmental conditions; the estimated range is years. Little is known regarding specific behaviors of this species. In the wild, they are usually observed as solitary creatures, anchored around eelgrass by their prehensile tails.
They are nocturnal and non-migratory. Froese and Kesner-Reyes, ; Gomezjurado, ; Lourie, et al. There is no information available to suggest that these animals maintain a particular home range or territory.
Specific information regarding the way this species communicates and perceives the environment is scarce. As bony fish, their lateral line system determines pressure and water movements around them.
They rely on vision to accurately locate prey when it comes within sight and during courtship, and they possess olfactory nares, which can detect dissolved chemicals. They are also capable of hearing; a clicking sound is produced when mating pairs touch heads as part of courtship behavior.
Diet consists mainly of small crustaceans and zooplankton. Giant seahorses eat brine shrimp Artemia sp. Juveniles may consume phytoplankton. Seahorses lack teeth, instead sucking prey in through their tube-like snouts. However, Giant seahorses have been found in the stomachs of some large fishes. Juveniles face higher risks of predation than adults because of their small size. The camouflage abilities of this species are a great asset in avoiding predation. The Secret Lives Of Seahorses”, Giant seahorses are predators of small crustaceans and zooplankton, while also being a food source to other animals.
They may be hosts to parasites or fall victim to bacterial and fungal infections, particularly in captivity.
Foster and Vincent, ; Koldewey, Giant seahorses are important to the international aquarium trade. This species, like all other species of seahorse, is exploited for use in traditional Chinese medicine. These uses have led to population declines and heightened concerns regarding conservation. There are no known adverse effects of giant seahorses on humans. Each year, it has been reported that thousands of giant seahorses are accidentally caught by shrimp fisheries.
While no species of seahorse has been listed as endangered in the U. In order to protect these animals, conservation actions have been implemented in some countries.
Mexico, for example, has listed giant seahorses as a species subject to special protection, and fishermen are not allowed to intentionally catch these animals. In Panama, the species is listed as protected in a mandate managing coral reefs. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
Referring to an animal that lives on or near the bottom of a body of water.
Pacific Seahorse (Hippocampus ingens) – Our Wild World
Also an aquatic biome consisting of the ocean bottom below the pelagic and coastal zones. Bottom habitats in the very deepest oceans below m are sometimes referred to as the abyssal zone.
Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Iteroparous huppocampus must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons or periodic condition changes. Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate. Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. Accessed February 05, at http: Hippocampus ingens ” On-line. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute: Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Accessed June 21, at http: Accessed February 19, at http: San Francisco State University.
Implications for conservation and management” On-line. Accessed March 14, at http: The Millbrook Hippocam;us, Inc. Syngnathid Husbandry in Public Aquariums. A Guide to the Identification of Seahorses.
A division of Lerner Publishing Group: Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Their Kin. Secrets of the Coral Reefs: Exploring the Underwater Wonders. Sea Horses and Pipefish. Help us improve the site by taking our survey. To cite this page: Accessed December 31, at https: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students.
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