Thursday, March 15, 2012

One of the Cutest and Smallest Vertebrates in the sea!

Here is a fun little game, look at the pictures above and try to find the pygmy seahorse. Its hard! These little suckers have a great ability to camouflage themselves. The pygmy seahorse is a tiny species of the family Syngnathidae. They are found in the western central Pacific Ocean. It is tiny, usually less than 2 centimeters. There are two known color variations: grey with red tubercles, and yellow with orange tubercles. It is unknown whether these color varieties are linked to specific host corals. Because of its camouflage, the species wasn't discovered until its host coral was being examined in a laboratory. There are believed to be many species yet to be discovered.
Seahorses like sheltered areas and are well camouflaged. They camouflage themselves by changing colour quickly to blend in with their surroundings. They also allow encrusting organisms to settle on them and they can grow long skin appendages to match their surroundings even better. During mating their skin will lighten and darken. Generally the easiest part of the seahorse to spot is the tail.
The pygmy seahorse is found in coastal areas ranging from southern Japan and Indonesia to northern Australia and New Caledonia on reefs and slopes at a depth of 10–40 meters. Adults are usually found in pairs or clusters of pairs, with up to 28 pygmy seahorses recorded on a single gorgonian, and may be monogamous. Unusually, it is the male, and not the female, that becomes pregnant in seahorses. Breeding occurs year-round. The female lays her eggs in a brood pouch in his trunk region. They are fertilized by the male, and incubated until birth with gestation averaging two weeks. In one birth witnessed underwater, a male ‘gave birth’ to a brood of 34 live young. The young look like miniature adult seahorses, are independent from birth, and receive no further parental care.

For more info you can visit the link HERE!


  1. What a cool fish, and a great example of the extreme morphological diversity of bony fishes.

    There was a great paper in 2010 in Nature about male seahorses selectively aborting some of their brood in a unique type of post-copulatory sexual selection. The abstract says that:

    "The conflict seems to be mediated by a strategy of cryptic choice in which males increase rates of offspring abortion in pregnancies from unattractive mothers to retain resources for future reproductive opportunities."

  2. Jake, this is really cool. Not only the fact that they are so small and also very cute, the idea that the males are the ones who house the babies and give birth. That itself is so interesting and different, than every other organism on the earth. I also find it interesting that they can camouflage themselves and how they are so hard to find. No wonder I have never heard of these little creatures before.