Food and feeding habits of the seahorses Hippocampus spinosissimus and Hippocampus trimaculatus (Malaysia)

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2014

Authors: Yip, MY, Lim ACO, Chong VC, Lawson JM, Foster SJ

Journal: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Pagination: 1 - 8

ISSN: 1469-7769

Keywords: crustacean prey, diet overlap, food habits, Hippocampus, ontogenetic shift, PCA, preponderance index, relative gut length, seahorse, stomach content, Syngnathidae

Abstract:

Two seahorse species, Hippocampus spinosissimus and Hippocampus trimaculatus, sampled in east and west coastal waters of Peninsular Malaysia, fed mostly on crustacean prey; small caridean shrimps and amphipods as adults (both species), and copepods and larval meroplankton as juveniles (for H. trimaculatus only). The similar short relative gut length (~0.4) of both species is consistent with a carnivorous diet. Both species are considered specialists in prey selection, focusing on slow-moving epibenthic, hyperbenthic and canopy-dwelling crustaceans that dwell on the mud-sand seabed, or are associated with seagrass or mangrove areas. In this light, seahorses with their juveniles in shallow waters are vulnerable to coastal reclamation and development.

DOI: 10.1017/S0025315414001660

Short Title: J. Mar. Biol. Ass.