December’s celebrity iSeahorse syngnathid is a long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus). It’s one of two species hailing from Europe, its counterpart being the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus).
One story, however, had a positive message that stood out from the rest: the successful conservation of whale sharks along the coast of Gujarat, a state on India’s west coast.
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.
When I left for the CITES CoP, I told my 5 year old son that I was going to a meeting where all the world’s countries were coming together to make sure that all the animals and plants around today would be around when he grew up – and I left South Africa still convinced that this is exactly the best way to describe the CoP.
September’s featured iSeahorse observation comes to us from the Island of São Tomé. Nuno Vasco Rodrigues spotted a group of five West African seahorses, Hippocampus algiricus, near a small island off the west coast of Gabon, West Africa. This species is one of two occurring in the eastern Atlantic Ocean off of Africa (the other being Hippocampus hippocampus)
Our job was to find common challenges and opportunities for managing wildlife trade among seahorses, sharks, rays, humphead wrasse, European eels, and sturgeons. These very cool fishes are united as the first wave of fishes to come under global regulations, requiring that no export threaten wild populations. While that sounds good, the challenge, as ever, lies in the implementation … and that was our focus.
Historical map makers – who worked before the world was fully explored – drew dragons and mermaids at the edges of the known world. Today these mythical creatures have vanished from our maps; the world has been mapped by waves of explorers, surveys, and satellites. We have grown incredibly precise at mapping features as diverse as ocean temperatures, aquifers, and ocean habitats. Yet much remains unknown.
The iSeahorse featured observation for June comes to us from the island of Negros in the Central Philippines. Anna Pfotenhauer managed to snap this great photo of Barbour’s seahorse (Hippocampus barbouri) in just 3 metres of water.
Am I really a conservationist?
As a young marine biologist, I’m kind of ashamed to confess that I had never bothered to ask myself that question until last April, after I started fieldwork to initiate seahorse conservation in China. I took it for granted that I was.
This spectacular specimen of Hippocampus trimaculatus, commonly known as the three-spot seahorse, was spotted by iSeahorse user Anna Pfotenhauer (aka anna18) off the coast of Negros Island in the Philippines.
Despite the importance of biodiversity conservation, Project Seahorse has made me realize how little I had learned about it in high school.
This month's iSeahorse featured observation is from Negros in the Philippines. Nudisusie managed to capture this excellent shot of a very pregnant thorny seahorse, Hippocampus histrix . It looks as though he’s just about to give birth to a whole bunch of tiny seahorses.
There are few things as rewarding as seeing science directly contribute to improved policy. We were thrilled to learn this month that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) recently announced the suspension of all exports of the threatened West African seahorses (Hippocampus algiricus) from Senegal and Guinea.
Our featured iSeahorse observation for March comes to us from West Palm Beach, Florida. This interesting picture was captured by iSeahorse user katieg628. It shows the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, giving birth to many juvenile seahorses.
Having laws to conserve nature and knowing how to use them are two different things – if done well, seahorse conservation in the Philippines could pave the way for other species, writes Dr. Amanda Vincent on World Wildlife Day.