By Kately Nikiforuk
This prickly, plum-hued stunner is none other than the hedgehog seahorse (Hippocampus spinosissimus), our featured iSeahorse observation from March. The photo was posted by Evolution Dive Resort, which operates out of Malapascua Island, Philippines.
In addition to the Philippines, hedgehog seahorses are found in Australia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Sadly, these seahorses face threats to survival across this range, including the fact that they’re one of the two seahorse species most frequently reported as being traded internationally. Conversations with fishers in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand have indicated that over the last decade the H. spinosissimus population may have decreased by 30% or more. They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.
There is much work to be done to get our oceans in ship-shape despite all the ships and organizations such as Evolution Dive Resort who are doing their part. They strive for environmental responsibility, and outline the ways in which they reduce, reuse and recycle on their website. From participating in a used boat oil recycling program, to keeping plastic out of the ocean by repurposing empty detergent bottles as flower pots, Evolution is striving to protect the home of local wildlife like Mandarin fish, bobtail squids and hedgehog seahorses. Find out what you can do too - http://www.projectseahorse.org/get-involved.
Find out more about the hedgehog seahorse here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/107259870/54906372