November’s featured iSeahorse observation is of a Japanese seahorse, Hippocampus mohnikei. This little fish was spied off the Cambodian coast during a formal seahorse survey conducted by Projects Abroad Cambodia. The sighting is rather timely, considering the recent publication of a paper illuminating updates in knowledge about this species’ range, habitat and threats.
The Japanese seahorse was previously thought to inhabit Japanese waters exclusively, but it’s been discovered that it also resides around Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. And while they were once only associated with seagrass beds and estuaries, they’ve now been spotted in several other habitats, including mangrove, mussel and oyster farms.
Although H. mohnikei is listed as data deficient by the IUCN, the new data concerning their range, habitat and threats reveals that their living conditions are similar to those of the spotted seahorse (H. kuda), the three-spot seahorse (H. trimaculatus) and the hedgehog seahorse (H. spinosissimus). Since those three species have been designated by the IUCN as Vulnerable, this information may provide clues for devising the best Japanese seahorse conservation strategy.
Read the Project Seahorse research paper New records of the Japanese seahorse Hippocampus mohnikei in Southeast Asia lead to updates in range, habitat and threats” to find out more about this species.
Originally posted on iSeahorse.org