An itty-bitty "sea foal"

By Kately Nikiforuk

  Hippocampus reidi,  by Shane Gross

Hippocampus reidi, by Shane Gross

For April we’re showcasing an itty-bitty “sea-foal,” submitted by iSeahorse user Shane Gross. He happened upon this bobble-headed cutie in the Bahamas. It looks like it might be a baby slender seahorse (Hippocampus reidi), but it’s hard to say for sure at this age. 

While the fry of different seahorses are often difficult to tell apart, their behaviour can vary substantially. For example, the young of some species are pelagic, meaning they disperse from their parents by travelling through the water column, while others are benthic, meaning they cling to the vegetation near their birth site and don’t wander very far. 

Male slender seahorses give birth to around 700 offspring at a time, which are only about 6 mm tall as newborns! They start small, but given enough time and crustaceans, they can grow to lengths greater than 12 cm. For scale, the fish featured here has its tail wrapped around a blade of manatee grass. 

A huge thank you to Shane for submitting this picture. We highly encourage you to check out more of his astounding underwater snapshots. Explore his websites and social media accounts (@shanegrossphoto) to see photo stories chronicling everything from the plight of endangered Nassau groupers to the impacts of invasive lionfish. Our favourite photo of his is entitled “Blue crab and lemon shark in the mangroves.” 
  
Find out more about H. reidi here