Marine Life: T He Unique Seahorse Essay

2237 words - 9 pages

Of the many fish of the sea, none is more interesting and unique than the seahorse. Seahorses are truly one of a kind in more ways than one. They can be found in temperate and tropical bodies of water throughout the world. With a tail similar to that of a monkey, fins that rememble those of a fish and a head that resemble a horse this animal is extraordinary. Along with those characteristics seahorses are known mostly for their odd method of conception and pregnancy. Seahorses are monogamous and one of the only species where the male is the one to become pregnant.
The incredible fish are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Gasterosteiformes, ...view middle of the document...

The dorsal fin has a dark stripe and 11-13 dorsal fins. It measures about two inches in length and can be found in Bermuda, Southern Florida, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico (Lourie, Foster, Cooper, Vincent, 2004).
Figure 2: Hippocampus zosterae
The Hippocampus reidi has many dark spots evenly scattered over a brownish colored body. It has 16-19 dorsal fins and measures about 6 inches in length. It can be found in the Bahamas to Northern South America, but are rare in the United States (Lythgoe & Lythgoe, 1992).
Figure 3: Hippocampus reidi
Genetics have been the resource for tracing the evolution of seahorses however there is no actual explanation from where they evolved. The oldest fossils of seahorses date back to the Eocene, which was about approximately 40 million years ago during the Cenozoic era. Some studies have shown that the first species of seahorses originated from the Atlantic biome. This is backed because the only fossils found were located in Italy and they are most closely related to pipefish, which originated from the Atlantic biome. On the other hands other scientists believe that they evolved in the Indo-West pacific region because that’s known as the place where the greatest concentration of seahorses are located (Teskes, Cherry, & Matthee, 2003).
Syngnathidae (pipefishes, seadragons and seahorses) are elegant and elongated teleosts demonstrating wonderful adaptations, which stimulate the curiosity of many. This family provides unique scientific challenges and is becoming a key model for many scientific questions. A peculiarity unique to the Syngnathidae is male pregnancy (Hoffman, Mobley, & Jones, 2006). Care provided by the male is not uncommon in fishes, rather this is the common pattern in teleosts when care is provided, but the pregnancy of males is unique to the syngnathids.
Males and females differ in many ways physically. They are different in size, shape and color. Males tend to be less spiny and more slim and change color during and after mating (Restrepo, 2004). Only male seahorses have a pouch that is used to hold the eggs until they are ready to hatch. Seahorses do not have scales but they do have a structure skeleton. Seahorses as a species have plenty of things in common. The number of rings and different shaped ridges are important to distinguishing amongst the many species. The seahorses also have a crown/ coronet, on top of their heads, which aid in identifying the different types of seahorses (Sadovy, 2000). They have a horse- shaped head that has a snout, which is used to suck up food. They are carnivores and despite their size eat a lot. The diet of a seahorse consists of fish, plankton, and small crustaceans by sneaking up on their prey and inhaling/sucking rapidly. They also happen to be noisy eaters despite what many ma think. When they inhale they make a clicking sound that can be heard from a distance. They also have no stomach to store their foods so they eat continuously throughout...

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