Seahorses: Characteristics and Conservation (Final Paper #2) This discussion topic submitted by Jody Becker ( BC_Jbecker@seovec.org ) at 12:10 pm on 7/2/00. Additions were last made on Tuesday, February 20, 2001.
Seahorses: Characteristics and Conservation
June 4, 2000
Tropical Marine Ecology
"Seahorses and tiny mermaids living admidst gardens of flowing seaweeds and pretty seashells are common in children's fantasies (Moore 1)." But unlike mermaids, seahorses are a real type of fish (Moore 1). "The head of a chess piece, the tail of a monkey, a rigid body that seems carved from wood, and a father who becomes pregnant" (Packer 22). Seahorses have many unique characteristics that make them intriguing to humans. This intrigue has led to the use of seahorses, which could be potentially detrimental to the survival of the species. It is important to understand the characteristics that make seahorses so unique; however, it is probably more important to understand the pressures that are effecting seahorses and what can be done to help alleviate these problems. To begin, it is important to understand the basics of seahorses. Seahorses are a type of bony fish, which classifies them in the animal kingdom, phylum Chordata, and class, Osteichthyes. Seahorses are part of the family Syngnathidae, which also includes pipefish and sea dragons (Boschung 530 and Moore 1). This family of fish has small, atypical bodies that are encased in bony rings (Boschung 530). All seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus. The genus name is based on Greek in which it means "bent horse" (Animal Bytes 1). They have a small, toothless mouth at the end of their tubular snout (Boschung 530). Seahorses range in size from 2.5-35 cm. (Seahorse Park 2). They are more commonly between 10-15 cm. in length (Moore 1).