In part two of this three-part series, marine ecologist Emilie Stump reports on threats impacting seahorse habitats and populations in Biscayne National Park, with a focus on the relationship between land use and water quality and the commercial bait shrimp fishery.
Our latest featured iSeahorse observation is a trio of scenic snapshots nabbed by iSeahorse user sharejosie, aka Josie Jones. She saw all three seahorses - two Big-belly seahorses (H. abdominalis) and one Short-head seahorse (H. breviceps) - between October 6th and 8th in Melbourne, Australia. Both species are unique to the region, with H. abdominalis found in New Zealand as well.
Our latest featured fish is a thorny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix) with skin as orange as the Jack-o-lanterns currently adorning the porches of Vancouver (where our Canadian office is located). At the time that iSeahorse user designedforx snapped this photo, the citrus-hued steed was hanging out in Kenya’s Wasini Channel.
Part one of a three part series: in this first part Ecologist and marine life artist Emilie Stump commemorates a national treasure with her latest multimedia piece, “The Three Seahorses of Biscayne National Park”
Our latest featured iSeahorse observation is courtesy of Jemma, aka jemmaudc, who works at Utila Dive Center, our iSeahorse Ambassador for Honduras. This ethereal beauty was spotted off the Caribbean coast, and has been identified as a longsnout seahorse (Hippocampus reidi), which has a range spanning from North Carolina to southern Brazil.
Video clip by BBC Earth: Millions of seahorses are caught every year, threatening their global survival
The latest iSeahorse VIP-horse is Hippocampus capensis, also known as the Knysna seahorse, an Endangered species hailing from just a few South African river mouths.
So, what makes the Knysna seahorse so endangered? Dr Dave Harasti’s musings on Hippocampus capensis and the work being done to protect it…
This month we’re highlighting a whole herd of White’s seahorses (Hippocampus whitei), thanks to scale-blazing scuba diver Tony Strazzari! Despite only joining iSeahorse on May 18th, Strazzari has posted over 140 seahorse observations under the username of tonydiver, backdated all the way to 2014.
Almost 20 years after first documenting the extent of seahorse trade in Viet Nam, we returned to see what, if anything, has changed.
By Kately Nikiforuk
May’s featured iSeahorse observation is a trio of jaw-dropping action shots, courtesy of user thumbwave (aka Craig Chaddock). The intrepid citizen scientist witnessed a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) pick up and immediately let go of a Pacific seahorse (Hippocampus ingens), which clutched its grassy holdfast throughout the ordeal. After the seahorse was dropped, Craig managed to capture the split second before it vanished beneath the water’s surface. From this novel angle, the seahorse almost looks like a mini Loch Ness monster.
Seahorses, though predators themselves, are preyed upon by a wide range of animals. More than 80 species have been found with seahorses or pipefishes in their bellies. Examples of known seahorse snackers are loggerhead sea turtles, fairy penguins, skipjack tuna, spottail porgies and horn sharks. Because of their low abundance and meagre caloric value, predators probably feed on seahorses opportunistically, rather than being specialized to hunt them. Pacific seahorses, which are Vulnerable (IUCN Red List), are far more threatened by the shrimp trawling industry than by opportunistic predators such as great blue herons.
So why was the heron’s catch released? Was it a slip of the beak or an outright rejection? Seahorses have bony plates instead of scales and aren’t very nutritious, so perhaps the bird simply didn’t have time for a crunchy, skimpy meal. Regardless of why this happened, there’s no question that these photos were impressively timed. Thanks for sharing with us, Craig!
Learn more about seahorse predators here:
Kleiber D., L.K. Blight, I.R. Caldwell, and A.C.J. Vincent. 2011. The importance of seahorses and pipefishes in the diet of marine animals. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 21(2): 205-223. DOI: 10.1007/s11160-010-9167-5
Surreal. Magical. Odd. Those three words immediately jumped to mind when I saw my very first seahorse in the wild.
Women DO participate in small-scale fisheries and often in ways distinct from men’s fishing. In this blog Dr Danika Kleiber (Project Seahorse Alumna) shares some of her experiences in working on this intriguing socio-cultural issue.
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.
“I then had an idea to save the seahorses so that we could always live with these magnificent creatures, but how could I put this idea into practice?“
This month's featured iSeahorse observation highlights a champion hide-and-seeker, Denise’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise), courtesy of iSeahorse user maractwin. With their petite size and puppy dog eyes, they seem more like seadogs than seahorses
These projects have not only advanced seahorse conservation in my country, but they have also changed my life. Reflecting on the whole experience, I have three lessons about being a marine conservationist that I have learnt that I will share with you: ...
"It is difficult to understand and explain how on these lands, visited and studied by so many dedicated naturalists such as Charles Darwin and Alcides D´Orbigny that there were no records of seahorses inhabiting Patagonia."
Guest blog by Dr Diego Luzzatto
February’s iSeahorse featured observation is a pretty bigbelly seahorse and a pretty big deal - this marks iSeahorse’s 3,000th observation!!!
Seahorses enter a complicated system of trade from fishers to various levels of buyers and/or traders. By piecing together information from a number of different sources, we have been able to create a fuller, more accurate picture of the true catch and trade of seahorses in Viet Nam. More on that in part three of our blog, but in the meantime here are some images, taken by Hoang during his time in the field, which provide a glimpse into the life of a seahorse trade detective.