Seahorses are a favorite of the marine animal kingdom. Found in both tropical and temperate waters all across the globe, seahorses are arguably one of the most distinctive and charismatic marine wildlife species in existence.
Ranging in length from more than a foot to under one inch, there are more than 40 known species of these ‘horses of the sea’ recorded by scientists to date. From odd dieting tendencies to adorably romantic relationship rituals, there’s much more to seahorses’ majestic intrigue than their trademark elongated mouths and curly tails. Here are just a few wildly fun facts you may not have known about this charming species.
FACT 1 | Seahorses are a type of fish
The seahorse is actually a pipe fish that lives in warm ocean water. They have a swim bladder for buoyancy, gills to breathe, and fins to help them swim.
FACT 2 | Seahorses change color to match their habitat
Seahorses have superb camouflaging skills and will change color to match their background. This is a way for them to hide from their enemies in the wild. You can add several colors to your tank and get a pleasing array of colorful sea horses.
FACT 3 | The male carries babies
The male sea horse is the one who carries the young. The mother deposits her eggs in the male's pouch, and she can lay up to 1,500 eggs. That is a lot of youngsters to keep track of, but after about 9 to 40 days, the eggs hatch, and the young ponies swim away. This is when the father’s duty is done. The water temperature and other factors determine the amount of time it takes for the eggs to hatch.
FACT 4 | Seahorses mate for life
The monogamous seahorse employs a complicated mating ritual of dancing with their prospective partner for as long as eight hours.
FACT 5 | Their tails are a valuable tool
The seahorse will use their powerful tails as a weapon when fighting over food or territory, or as a way to anchor themselves during a storm. Mated pairs will even be seen swimming with tails linked, perhaps their version of holding hands.
FACT 6 | They eat constantly
Since they don’t have teeth or even a stomach at all like other marine species do, the structure of a seahorse digestive system is also markedly unique. This makeup results in a digestive process that functions with extraordinary rapidity, requiring the animals to feast constantly on a carnivorous diet of tiny fish and planktonic copepods. Don’t let their small size fool you: seahorses can consume up to 3,000 crustaceans like brine shrimp in a single day, sucking them up through their trumpet-like snouts from as much as three centimeters away.