A Seahorse is the only animal on earth where the male bears the unborn.
Unlike most animals Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life. Seahorses are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. They swim upright unlike most fish who swim horizontally.
The Seahorse can range in size from 0.6 to 14 inches long. Although they are a bony fish, they do not have scales but rather thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates. Each species has a distinct number of rings.
Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their front-facing side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilize. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.
Because of their unique body shape, seahorses are good swimmers and can easily die of exhaustion when caught in rough seas. They propel themselves by using a small fin on their back that flutters up to 35 times per second.
Because they are voracious eaters, they graze continually and can consume 3,000 or more brine shrimp per day. Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems so quickly, they must eat almost constantly to stay alive.
Seahorses have courtship that lasts for several days. Scientists believe the courtship behavior synchronizes the animals’ movements as well as reproductive state so that the male can receive the eggs when the female is ready to deposit them. During this time they may change color, swim side by side holding tails or grip the same strand of sea grass with their tails and wheel around in unison in what is known as a “pre-dawn dance”. They eventually engage in a “true courtship dance” lasting about 8 hours, during which the male pumps water through the egg pouch on his trunk which expands and opens to display its emptiness. When the female’s eggs reach maturity, she and her mate let go of any anchors and snout-to-snout, drift upward out of the sea grass and rocks, often spiraling as they rise.
A Seahorse life span is estimated at 1 to 5 years.