By Kately Nikiforuk
We picked a “blooming” beauty for our latest featured iSeahorse observation - a long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) sporting a bouquet of fleshy fronds. This photo was snapped near Stratoni, Greece, by Dr. Miguel Correia, one of our iSeahorse National Seahorse Experts and a member of the IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group.
The Stratoni seahorse population was discovered in 2007, when archaeological divers found a different type of treasure than they were originally seeking. Since then, this small pocket of Greek seahorses, which consists of both short-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus hippocampus) and long-snouted seahorses like this one, has been monitored by a passionate group of divers that evolved into the Hippocampus Marine Institute. The Institute was created to protect and understand this specific seahorse population.
In early May this year, students from the Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR) at the University of Algarve teamed up with Miguel and the Hippocampus Marine Institute to survey the seahorses of Stratoni. Both H. guttulatus and H. hippocampus are listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List, so it’s super exciting to have more information!
Stay tuned for the rest of the Stratoni seahorse story as it unravels - in the meantime, you can find out more at the Hippocampus Marine Institute website, and Miguel Correia’s blog post, The Strange Case of Stratoni Seahorses.
For more information on Hippocamus guttulatus see:
IUCN Red List https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/41006/67617766