The seahorse, genus Hippocampus, is a type of fish named for its equine appearance, suggesting that of a horse. Seahorses do not have the streamlined, horizontal body of a common fish and therefore are usually much slower than the average fish and can swim vertically. This is for the upright posture and curled prehensile tail, which can unravel at wishes to support the seahorse by clinging to a coral or type of aquatic plant such as eelgrass. Seahorses are found in areas of saltwater including beds of seagrass, coral reefs, mangroves, and estuaries, and among these locations, they search for food such as small crustaceans by probing about for aquatic meals, sucking them up through their long snouts as they don’t have any teeth.
Although seahorses are relatively bony, they do not have scales, but rather very thin skin stretched over bony plates throughout their bodies. They don’t have the caudal fin of usual fish, and instead possess a long, prehensile tail which is useful in extreme conditions; as well as this they have the common dorsal fin and pectoral fins. A seahorse’s eyes are like those of a chameleon and may move freely about the head.
Seahorses also have the ability to change colors, and therefore camouflage themselves primarily for safety from passing carnivorous predators. This ability, however, does not hinder that certain seahorses always have a natural color, due to whatever certain species they are.
An example of the camouflage of a seahorse.
Seahorses’ primary relative is the pipefish, a species of very small, long and thin fish which makes up the family Syngnathidae with seahorses and seadragons (such as the Weedy and Leafy Seadragon).
Top to bottom: Leafy Seadragon & Weedy Seadragon.