This was a photo of a sculptured seahorse that I digitally altered. Canon D40.
Seahorses are fish. They live in water, breath through gills and have a swim bladder. However they do not have caudal fins and have a long snake-like tail. They have a neck and a snout that points down.
Seahorses have excellent eyesight and their eyes are able to work independently on either side of their head. This means they can look forwards and backwards at the same time! This is particularly useful as they hunt for food by sight.
Seahorses have long thin snouts enabling them to probe into nooks and crannies for food. When they find food they suck it up through their snouts like a vacuum cleaner. Their snouts can expand if their prey is larger than the snout. They are not able to chew and have to disintegrate the food as they eat it. Seahorses eat small crustacea such as Mysis Shrimp. An adult eats 30-50 times a day. Seahorse fry (baby seahorses) eat a staggering 3000 pieces of food per day.
Seahorses pair for life. They meet first thing in the morning to reinforce their pair bonding with an elaborate courtship display.
The seahorse male is the only creature where the male has a true reversed pregnancy. The female transfers her eggs to the male which he self fertilizes in his pouch. The number of eggs can vary from 50-150 for smaller species to 1500 for larger species. They receive everything they need in the pouch from oxygen to food. Gestation time varies from 14 days to 4 weeks. Giving birth can be a long process with contractions lasting up to 12 hours Baby seahorses are known as fry and when they are born they are fully formed and totally on their own. They spend the first two to three weeks of their lives drifting along in the plankton layer of the ocean. Less than one in a thousand will survive long enough to become an adult due to predators.
Seahorses are poor swimmers. They rely on their dorsal fin beating at 30-70 times per second to propel it along. Pectoral fins either side of the head help with stability and steering.
Except for crabs, few marine predators eat the seahorse – it is too bony and indigestible.