The Wonderful World Of Seahorses Essay Research

The Wonderful World Of Seahorses Essay, Research Paper The seahorse is a vertebrate fish and is a close relative of the pipefish. Its Genus is Hippocampus. There are about 40 different species, including, Hippocampus fuscus (the black seahorse) and Hippocampus kuda (Oceanic seahorse, Kellogg?s seahorse, Common seahorse or Yellow seahorse).

The Wonderful World Of Seahorses Essay, Research Paper

The seahorse is a vertebrate fish and is a close relative of the pipefish. Its Genus is Hippocampus. There are about 40 different species, including, Hippocampus fuscus (the black seahorse) and Hippocampus kuda (Oceanic seahorse, Kellogg?s seahorse, Common seahorse or Yellow seahorse). Depending on species the seahorse can range in length from 5 cm to 36 cm tall and live up to 4 years old. They also have an extremely wide range of colors some of these include, white, yellow, red, brown, black, gray, or spotted. All seahorses live in the tropical waters. The seahorse?s habitat is a coral reef and or seaweed. These areas are highly effective in protecting the animal. They can easily hid using their camouflage. They use this camouflage much like a chameleon does; they simply blend in with their background. When hiding from a predator or feeding the seahorse latches its tail to a coral branch or seaweed, this helps it stay in one place without making commotion. The seahorse feeds on little plankton, small crustaceans, worms, brine shrimp and fish larvae. It uses its mouth to suck up food by rapidly opening and closing it. It does not have teeth instead it has a small mouth found at the end of its long tube like snout. The snout is made of lower and upper jaws. A unique and useful feature of the seahorse is its eyes. The seahorse has binocular vision. While feeding, it will keep one eye on the look out for food and the other looking for predators. The only defense seahorses have besides their camouflage is the heavy armor they have across their entire body except for their fins. The armor is made up of plates that make a distinctive pattern. The pattern is different in each species. Some have a circle as a pattern and some have straight lines. As a result of the heavy armor they carry, they can?t swim well. When a predator does spot a seahorse with the intension of harm they have a small change to escape. Seahorses aren?t very active animals, they mostly anchor themselves to coral all day and stay out of the view of predators. Unlike other fish they do not have a tail fin. Whenever they do decide to swim, they move along slowly but gracefully. They move this way because of a transparent dorsal fin, which is located on their back. The dorsal fin moves back and forth 30 times a second, this action moves it forward. The fin that helps the seahorse turn is called the pectoral fin. Swimming is an up and down motion for them. Like a shark, they adjust moving up and down by releasing gas in their air bladder. When seahorses are ready to mate they interact in a mating custom that lasts for quite a few days, it entails changing of body colors and a pattern of special swimming. During this the female makes eggs, which are pinkish in color and depending on the species only about .5 millimeters big. When both are ready the female places the eggs into a pouch, which is connected to the male. The female then leaves and lets the male do the rest of the work. The eggs will stay incubated inside the males pouch for 3 to 6 weeks. When it?s time for the eggs to hatch the male ?gives birth? he might even feel birthing pains. After the eggs are hatched the baby seahorses are left to fend for themselves. The male does not take care of them. Unfortunately, the trade of seahorses for medical use and personal use is legal. People around the world use them in aiding medical problems, some cultures believe that the seahorse can cure asthma, thyroid disorders, skin ailments, broken bones and heart disease. This, water pollution and the destruction of their natural habitat are leading them towards the extinction list. If we don?t be careful this cute little creature will be gone because of human ignorance.

Bibliography

www.seaworld.org

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Canopy/7897/page2.html