Their scientific name is hippocampus, which has roots in the Greek “hippo,” meaning horse. Found in waters around the world, here are some interesting facts about these fascinating and unusual animals.
1. Seahorses are fish.
They live in the water, breathe through gills and have a swim bladder, according to The Seahorse Trust. Unlike any other fish, however, they have a flexible neck, a snout and a nimble tail.
2. They eat all the time.
Because seahorses don’t have teeth or stomachs, eating and digestion is quite the chore. They have to eat constantly so they don’t starve. They can eat 3,000 or more brine shrimp every day.
3. They take courtship very seriously.
When males are trying to catch the eye of a female, they lock tails and wrestle in an effort to try to impress her. Once a couple has paired off, the courtship gets even more intricate. They’ll twist their tails together and pirouette in a slow dance that can last for hours.
4. Seahorse males take care of pregnancy.
After the elaborate dance above, the female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch. He fertilizes them and carries them until they’re ready to hatch. In some species, he might carry as many as 2,000 of them! Gestation lasts from 2-4 weeks and then the male has contractions, sending his fully formed mini seahorse newborns out into the sea.
5. Color can be their camouflage.
Seahorses have special structures in their skin cells called chromatophores. These structures allow the fish to change colors to blend into their surroundings, protecting them from predators.