The Seahorse, of course!
I live in the shallow ocean water – preferably in sea grass meadows and reefs. I move very slowly even though my fins beat up to 70 times a second. I don’t have a stomach or any teeth and my jaw is fused together, but I love to eat!
Who Am I?
A Seahorse, of course!
The Horse of the Sea
As odd as this little fellow may seem it comes equipped with everything it needs to survive in a very big ocean. First of all it can change colour to blend in with it’s surroundings. It has a prehensile tail that helps anchor it to vegetation or a chunk of coral. Plus, it can rotate each eye separately and in a complete 360 degree circle – no one is sneaking up on this little guy! The seahorse is considered a fish even though it doesn’t have scales, but rather thin skin that is stretched over hard, bony ring-shaped plates.
The seahorse may not look like he’s travelling fast, but there’s a lot of motion going on – up to 70 beats a second! The dorsal fin (on its back) propels the seahorse forward while the small fins behind each gill help it change directions and to hover.
Since its jaws are fused together and it doesn’t have any teeth to chew with the seahorse must suck up tiny bits of food through its snout. Once it goes through the snout it still has to fit it in its tiny mouth. However, zooplankton, fish larvae, teeny shrimp, and sea worms are all small enough for it to feed on. The seahorse must also eat constantly since it doesn’t have a stomach. In fact, it can swallow anywhere from 50-300 tiny animals per hour and eat up to 10 hours a day!
He’s a Daddy and a Mommy
The male seahorse is the only fish or animal that gives birth to its young. Dad seahorse has a pouch like a kangaroo on the front of his body that holds the eggs and the hatchlings after their born. Plus, Dad is always “expecting.” Once the brood is released from Dad’s pouch he becomes pregnant again.
Seahorses are also monogamous and the partners are never far away from each other. When seahorses are courting they will latch tails and swim together.
More Fun Facts
~ The smallest seahorse is .6 inches (thumbnail size) and the biggest is 14 inches long
~ Baby seahorses are fully developed when they leave their father’s pouch and have the appetite of an adult
~ There are over 30 species of seahorses
~ fused ~ to become joined together as if by melting
~ prehensile ~ adapted for grabbing especially by wrapping around
~ zooplankton ~ the passively floating or weakly swimming minute animal life
~ monogamous ~ having only one mate for a lifetime
~ courting ~ to seek an alliance with