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


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.