CRITTER SPOTLIGHT: Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)
Good Morning Watershed Explorers,
Happy Father's Day to all the Watershed Explorer dads! In honor of Father's Day, today's critter spotlight is about an amazing critter dad, the lined seahorse! There are about 47 different species of seahorse, but the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus is found in the Atlantic Ocean. These seahorses grow to about 5-6 inches in length and can live up to 4 years. Did you know that seahorses are actually fish?
If you have ever read Eric Carle's Mister Seahorse, you have already learned that the seahorse dads are the ones that carry the babies and expel them from a pouch when they are ready to be born. These amazing dads carry the eggs for about 20 days. This article from the National Wildlife Federation spotlights the lined seahorse and four other really cool critter dads, it's also where this great photo came from https://blog.nwf.org/2016/06/fathers-of-the-wild/
Lined Seahorses can be found all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. They prefer seaweed beds and if present, coral reefs.
Seahorses require living food. They use their long snout to feed on tiny crustaceans. Young seahorses need so much food for energy, they will sometimes eat for 10 hours a day.
Unfortunately, all seahorse populations have been in trouble in recent years. This is due to several factors. Seahorses have been exploited for use in traditional Chinese medicine, they have been harvested for the aquarium trade, and they have also lost habitat due to the destruction of coral reefs. All creatures are important to watershed areas, and seahorses are no different. These voracious eaters can consume thousands of tiny shrimp each day, which helps to control crustacean populations.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the lined seahorse Hippocampus erectus. Happy Exploring and Happy Father's Day once again to all the amazing dads out there!