Friday, April 16, 2010

The world's smallest sea horse

In 2003, marine biologist Sara Lourie, a member of the University of British Columbia-based Project Seahorse marine conservation team, has identified the world's smallest known species of seahorse. The pygmy seahorse called Hippocampus Denise averages 16 mm (.64 inch) in size, smaller than a fingernail, and lives in coral in the tropical waters of the western Pacific.

In 2009, five new pygmy seahorse species were found in the Red Sea.

Hippocampus satomiae, little bigger than a pea, has been recently found on reefs in Indonesia.
Note : animal names ending in -ae honor women, in this case Satomi Onishi, a diving guide who collected the first specimen.

Little bigger than a pea, the smallest known sea horse, was discovered at a depth of about 15 meters on reefs in Indonesia, from Derawan island off Kalimantan to northern Sulawesi and Borneo.
Like other pygmy sea horses, its size and camouflage make it difficult to spot. This species resembles, in texture and color, the sea fans with which it lives. It has a pouch in which it carries its young, which are only 3mm in length.

The sea horse is displayed at the Quentin Wheeler International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State University.

The seahorses are a genus of fishes within the family syngnathidae, which also includes the pipefishes.
There are more than 80 species of seahorse, mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world.
They prefer to live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, coral reefs, or mangroves.
Seahorse populations are said to have been endangered in the recent years due to overfishing and habitat destruction.

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