by Sara Kirk
Seahorses are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, and live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, estuaries, coral reefs or mangroves.
Seahorses range in size from half an inch to 14 inches. They are named for their equine appearance with bent necks and long snouted heads followed by their distinctive trunk and tail. Although they are bonyy fish, they do not have scales, but rather thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates, which are arranged in rings throughout their bodies. Each species has a distinct number of rings. Seahorses swim upright using the dorsal fin, another characteristic not shared by their close pipefish relatives, which swim horizontally. The pectoral fins located on either side of the head are used for maneuvering. Their prehensile tail can only be unlocked in the most extreme conditions. They are adept at camouflage with the ability to grow and reabsorb spiny appendages depending on their habitat.
Seahorses swim very poorly, rapidly fluttering a dorsal fin and using pectoral fins (located behind their eyes) to steer. Since they are poor swimmers, they are most likely to be found resting with their prehensile tails wound around a stationary object. They have long snouts, which they use to suck up food, and their eyes can move independently of each other like those of a chameleon.
The male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on the front-facing side of the tail. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries the eggs for 9 to 45 days until the seahorses emerge fully developed, but very small. Once the young are released into the water, the male’s role is done, and he offers no further care and often mates again within hours or days during the breeding season. (from Wikipedia)
by Pierre Auguste Renoir