Seahorses are one of the most distinctive-looking sea creatures of the deep, named after their terrestrial counterparts. 

Seahorses are a favorite of the marine animal kingdom. These underwater equines are loved by everyone, from children to adults, but are they actually fish, even though we know they’re not horses? 

Find out the reply to this and other questions about seahorses with these 15 fascinating facts about them!

1. No stomach

Seahorses share a characteristic with a few species of wrasses, a vividly colored marine fish, in that they have no teeth and no stomach. 

Because food goes through their digestive tract so quickly, they must feed virtually constantly to survive and grow. An adult consumes food 30 to 50 times per day. 

Seahorse fry (baby seahorses) consume an incredible 3000 pieces of food per day. Because their digestive systems function so swiftly, food passes through their bodies too quickly for them to absorb much nourishment.

2. Male pregnancy

Amazing Male Seahorse Giving Birth To Thousands Of Babies Underwater | Image Credit – Reptile’s Story

Yes, you heard it right! Male seahorses can get pregnant and give birth to offspring, a unique adaptation in the animal kingdom.

The female seahorse deposits her mature eggs into the male’s brood pouch, where they are fertilized after an elaborate courtship dance that might last hours or days. 

The pregnant male’s abdomen begins to undulate regularly toward the conclusion of a gestation period that generally lasts two to four weeks, and intense muscular contractions eject a few dozen to as many as 1,000 completely developed baby seahorses into the surrounding water. 

The children must, after that, fend for themselves. Large litters are required because only about 0.5 percent of newborns survive to adulthood.

3. Camouflage sensei

Seahorses can camouflage
Seahorses can camouflage | Image Credit – Flickr

Seahorses are one of the few aquatic animals that have the ability to change color. Such alterations confound or even frighten potential predators and disguise the organisms. 

Seahorses use color changes to communicate their feelings and intentions, particularly during courting.

4. True Lovers

True Lovers
True Lovers | Image Credit – Flickr

Although most seahorses are monogamous and mate for life, a few species are polygamous and shift partners from the breeding cycle to the breeding cycle. 

On the other hand, Seahorses only mate with one partner per breeding cycle. Seahorses are frequently observed swimming in pairs, their tails intertwined. 

They perform a courting dance in which they twirl around, swim side by side, and switch colors. 

The mated seahorse pair’s relationship is strengthened by performing this wooing dance daily.

5. Poor swimmers

Most fishes have pelvic, anal, and caudal fins that provide thrust, lift and steering. Seahorses, on the other hand, lack these fins.

They propel themselves instead of by fluttering their little dorsal fin at a rate of roughly 35 beats per second.

Smaller pectoral fins on the sides of their heads are used to steer them. These pectoral fins resemble ears and add to the head’s horselike appearance. They die of weariness in stormy seas because of their incapacity to swim well.

6. Tactical mastermind

Seahorses employ camouflage to ambush their prey; thus, it’s crucial for them. They stay stationary and disguised by anchoring their prehensile tail to seagrasses, corals, or sponges and sucking up any passing plankton or fish fry with their long, tubular snout. 

To catch their prey, seahorses must be within a few millimeters of it; therefore, staying unseen is crucial.

7. 360vision

Seahorse eyes move independently, providing them with a nearly 360-degree field of vision, allowing them to keep one eye on predators during the following prey with the other. 

Their only actual predators are crabs, which catch seahorses with their pincers, and humans who gather them for traditional medicine, curios, and aquarium pets.

8. Male always pregnant

Pregnant Males | Video Credit – Nat Geo WILD

Females can continue to generate eggs while the male is pregnant with the young, allowing seahorses to reproduce more swiftly. 

The female will deposit extra fertilized eggs in the male’s brood pouch as soon as he gives birth.

9. Valuable tail

Was It Designed? The Seahorse’s Tail | Video Credit – 01 trends

Seahorses utilize their powerful tails as a weapon when fighting over food or territory or as a way to anchor themselves during a storm, whereas land-based horses use their tails to shoo flies away. 

Mated pairs may even be observed swimming with their tails connected, akin to holding hands.

10. Plant Eaters

Seashores primarily feed smaller marine animals, but they can also eat plant stuff like seagrass, kelp, seaweed, and algae.

11. Struggle of baby seahorse

Male seahorses do not play catch with their youngsters or assist them with their homework, which is accurate. 

On the other hand, male seahorses outperform human fathers in one respect: they become pregnant and give birth to sons and daughters.

A fry or young seahorse has numerous hurdles from the minute they are born. For one instance, male seahorses are known to eat their young. Only a few of the hundreds born will survive and have a future in the water.

12. Edible 

Japanese Street Food – Sea Horse Fried | Video Credit – Japan Street

Seahorses aren’t generally on the menu at seafood restaurants, so that the answer may surprise you. Seahorses, like other fish, can be eaten, though it is not recommended.

Although seahorses have relatively little flesh, you may nevertheless find them fried and on a stick in Asian stores. 

These little critters have minimal nutritional value and are primarily consumed for the prestige of having eaten a seahorse. 

Because there is so little meat to extract from the fish, they can’t be prepared in various ways. 

It wouldn’t be worth it to try to remove the meat from inside the exoskeleton of the fish. These fish are so bony that the crab is the only sea creature that will eat them!

13. Becoming extinct

Unusual number of dead seahorses washing up in Dorset
Unusual number of dead seahorses washing up in Dorset | Image Credit – BBC News

Every year, about 37 million seahorses die, many of them ending up in massive global commerce. 

Seahorses are in jeopardy worldwide, threatened by habitat destruction, and sold in large international commerce.

Because of the high public demand for seahorses, some researchers believe that some species, such as the Paradoxical Seahorse, are already extinct or highly endangered. 

However, precise numbers are hard to determine due to the extensive spread of seahorse species.

14. World’s slowest fish: Dwarf seahorse

Dwarf seahorse
Dwarf seahorse | Image Credit – Flickr

The dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae, can be found in the Bahamas and areas of the United States’ subtidal aquatic habitats.

 The world’s slowest-moving fish, the dwarf seashore, can barely swim 1.5 meters (5 feet) per hour, earning it the Guinness World Record for the world’s slowest-moving fish.

15. Not good pet

One of the reasons why seahorses are rarely seen in pet stores is that they are challenging to keep alive. 

Furthermore, we must keep the seahorse in a separate saltwater tank to avoid being harmed by other fish.

Conclusion 

Seahorses are highly sensitive to environmental disturbance, including climate change, due to their life history and ecology.

Despite the lack of evidence, many cultures believe seahorses have medical benefits, mainly traditional Chinese medicine, which believes that their dried bodies can heal or prevent skin diseases, asthma, and impotence. 

Every year, 37 million seahorses are collected in the wild. Seahorse populations are declining at an alarming rate because fishers are harvesting them quicker than they can replenish their populations.

(Last Updated on April 2, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Rishu Shakya, a bachelor’s degree graduate in Business Information Management, holds an extraordinary empathy towards mother nature and her ecosystem. She has always been captivated by green Earth and its charm. She regards spreading awareness about clean energy and sustainable development as her passion as well as responsibility. She believes her compassion about the Earth and human relationships will undoubtedly assist our planet to be a better place.