Visible implant fluorescent elastomer tagging of the big-bellied seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2004

Authors: Woods, CMC, Martin-Smith KM

Journal: Fisheries Research

Volume: 66

Issue: 2-3

Pagination: 363 - 371

Date Published: 02/2004

ISSN: 01657836

Keywords: Batch tagging, growth, LED blue light, syngnathid, Tag retention


Wild and captive management of seahorses often requires individual or batch identification. In seahorses this has proven difficult in the past because of the seahorses’ rigid body structure, reduced size of fins and susceptibility to infection. We
investigated the suitability of visible implant fluorescent elastomer (VIFE) for tagging the big-bellied seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, Leeson 1827. Thirty-six seahorses were tagged and their mortality, growth and tag retention assessed over a
period of 7 months together with 36 control seahorses. No tagged or control animal died. In tagged animals growth rate in standard length (SL) was 6% less than untagged animals (non-significant), and growth rate in weight was 10% less than untagged animals (significant) over the experimental period. No tags were lost during the experiment. Tag visibility under LED blue light did not decline significantly although tag detection with the naked eye decreased significantly over the first month of the experiment. Our results show that VIFE is a highly effective batch tagging method for seahorses with minimal biological effects.

DOI: 10.1016/S0165-7836(03)00183-8

Short Title: Fisheries Research