This article is about the fish; for other meanings of seahorse, see Seahorse (disambiguation).
Conservation status: Lower risk
Seahorse (photo by NOAA (
Scientific classification

See text.

Hippocampus is a genus of fish known as Seahorses (family Syngnathidae). They are found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world.

Seahorses range in size from 16 mm (the recently discovered Hippocampus Denise [1] ( to 35 cm. They are notable for being one of only a few species where the males get pregnant. A seahorse pregnancy lasts approximately two to three weeks. Seahorses are also unusual among fishes for being monogamous.

Missing image

Seahorse populations have been endangered in recent years by overfishing. The seahorse is used in traditional Chinese herbology, and as many as 20 million seahorses may be caught each year and sold for this purpose. [2] (

Seahorses reproduce in an unusual way: the male becomes pregnant. The mating pair entwine their tails and the female aligns a long tube called an ovipositor with the male's pouch. The eggs move through the tube into the male's pouch where he then fertilises them. The embryos will develop for between ten days and six weeks, depending on species and water conditions. When the male gives birth he pumps his tail until the baby seahorses emerge.

Though close relatives of seahorses, sea dragons have larger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed or kelp beds. Sea dragons feed on larval fishes and amphipods, such as and small shrimp-like crustaceans called mysids ("sea lice"), sucking up their prey in their small mouths. Many of these amphipods feed on the red algae that thrives in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live.

Import and export of seahorses will be controlled under CITES from May 15, 2004.


There are approximately 35 known species of seahorse including:

  • Hippocampus abdominalis : (Big-belly seahorse) which is found off the coast of New Zealand and south and east Australia
  • Hippocampus algiricus : (West African Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus angustus: (Narrow Bellied Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus barbouri : (Barbour's seahorse or Zebra-snout seahorse)
  • Hippocampus bargibanti (Pygmy Seahorse) which is found in the area of New Caledonia
  • Hippocampus borboniensis : (Runion Seahorse)
Closeup on the head of a seahorse
Closeup on the head of a seahorse
  • Hippocampus breviceps: (Short Snouted Seahorse) which is found off the coast of south and east Australia
  • Hippocampus camelopardalis : (Giraffe Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus capensis : (Knysna Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus colemani : (Coleman's Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus comes : (Tiger Tail Seahorse) which is found in the Far East
  • Hippocampus coronatus : (Crowned Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus denise : (Denise's Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus erectus : (Lined Seahorse) which is found off the east coast of the Americas, between Nova Scotia and Uruguay
  • Hippocampus fisheri : (Fisher's Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus fuscus : (Sea Pony) which is found in the Indian Ocean
  • Hippocampus guttulatus : (Speckled Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus hippocampus: (European Seahorse) which is found in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
  • Hippocampus histrix : (Thorny Seahorse) which is found in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and the Far East
  • Hippocampus ingens : (Pacific Seahorse) which is found off the Pacific coast coast of North, Central and South America)
  • Hippocampus jayakari : (Jayakar's Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus kelloggi : (Great Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus kuda : (Spotted Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus lichtensteinii :: (Lichtenstein's Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus minotaur : (Bullneck Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus mohnikei : (Japanese Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus procerus : (Hippocampus procerus)
  • Hippocampus reidi : (Brazilian Seahorse) which is found in the Caribbean in coral reefs
  • Hippocampus sindonis : (Shiho's seahorse)
  • Hippocampus spinosissimus : (Hedgehog Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus subelongatus : (Tigersnout Seahorse or West Australian Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus trimaculatus : (Three-Spot Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus tuberculatus : (Knobby Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus whitei : (White's Seahorse)which is found off the coast of east Australia
  • Hippocampus zebra : (Zebra Seahorse)
  • Hippocampus zosterae : (Dwarf Seahorse) which is found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean)

See also

Missing image
A sculpture of a heraldic seahorse that adorned an 18th or 19th century French naval vessel

In heraldry, a seahorse is depicted as a creature with the foreparts of a horse and the hindparts of a fish. See, for example, the sinister supporter of the Isle of Wight Arms, or the supporters on either side of the crest of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

External links

Leafy Sea Dragons

de:Seepferdchen es:Caballito de mar fr:Hippocampe (poisson) nl:Zeepaard pt:Cavalo-marinho fi:Merihevoset zh:海马属


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools