Seahorses have settled down in the Japan Sea Exhibit

Seahorses have settled down in  the Japan Sea Exhibit

The common sea horses (Hippocampus kuda) arrived to the Primorsky Aquarium from Taiwan. After having been quarantined in the Scientific-and-Adaptation Building, they have moved to the Japan Sea Exhibit in the Main Building. 

In the wild, seahorses have a carnivorous diet and feed on small crustacean and other planktonic organisms. Diet of our seahorses includes brine shrimps, daphnia, and frozen bloodworms. They eat frequently - 4-5 times a day.    

 Victoria Belotserkovets, a specialist of Department of Keeping Far-Eastern Seas’ hydrobionts tells, “Seahorses in captivity are considered to eat krill well, however, ours reject the krill but then eat brine shrimps with large appetite producing audible clicking sounds. They utilize their thick snouts and specialized jaws to suck in their prey - like a vacuum cleaner. They are great fun - eye people with curiosity and follow their movements.”

The common seahorse appearance is very uncommon for fishes. Originally, ancient Greek poet used the Greek word Hippocampus to describe a half-horse, half-fish mythical god (hippos means horse and campus means monster). This description sharply describes their horse-like head positioned 90 degrees from its upright with a protruding snout and a body encase in bone rings, with the tail curled and prehensile.

Reaching a length of 30 cm, they appear shorter because the tail is coiled. They are variable in colour and patterns that can be changed temporarily to match their immediate surrounding and act as a camouflage to avoid predators; there are small knobs on the corners of the bony plates. 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 spend most of their time anchoring to coral reefs and branches with their tails, necessary because they are poor swimmers. They usually inhabit sheltered habitats such as bays and estuaries; seagrasses or seaweed provide a favourite habitat.

Seahorses live in pairs, and when breeding the female deposits her eggs in the male's brood pouch. They hatch there, and the male then takes care of them until they are ready to live independently.

  • Did you know that seahorses are generally monogamous? Seahorses maintain a faithful association with only one partner. They in general have a complex mating system, which is characterized by a unique courtship ritual. The mail begins by changing its colour patterns as it dances around the female producing clicking sounds with its coronet. The pair proceeds with the ritual by entwining their tails together and floating across the ocean floor. Eventually they face each other belly-to-belly at which time the female places her eggs into the male’s brooding pouch. This courtship ritual is modified and repeated daily even after the male has become pregnant. Each morning the pair comes together to dance, change colour, and entwine tails to reinforce their pair bonds.
  • Common seahorse (Hippocampus kuda), also known as the estuary seahorse, yellow seahorse or spotted seahorse is a seahorse of the family Syngnathidae native to the Indo-Pacific - a small fish that can reach a length of 17–30 cm. There are about 54 species of seahorses worldwide, and possibly as many sub-species. It is often difficult for scientists to identify seahorses because individuals of the same species can vary greatly in appearance.