What is a sea-horse?

          The strange sea creatures, with large heads resembling the horse’s head, are in fact bony fish that belong to the family of Syngnathidae. Because of its head it has been rightly named as a sea-horse. Its body is covered with rough bony plates. Its tail is just like that of a snake.

         Sea-horses vary in size (10 cm to 30 cm) and colour, but they all have the same basic shape. They are found in all the oceans of the world. There are 100 species, which may be white, yellow, red or blue. When resting, a sea-horse wraps its tail round a piece of seaweed. Even when they want to feed, they hold on to seaweed with their tails and pick food out of the water as it floats by. 

          The sea-horse swims in an upright position, using its dorsal (back) fin to drive it along. The fin vibrates very rapidly (up to 35 times a second), yet it is the slowest moving fish. It hovers in the water propelling itself and even at top speed it would take a sea-horse about 2.5 days to cover a distance of 1 kilometre!

          The sea-horse is unusual in another way. The female seahorse has a long egg-laying organ which is used to place the eggs in sea-horse’s pouch on the male belly. During courtship the female places her eggs into this pouch and the male then fertilizes them. The male sea-horse can take care of up to three broods every year, with as many as 50 eggs in each brood. The eggs hatch in the pouch of the male and then the tiny young sea-horses leave the pouch about five weeks after the eggs are laid.

           Sea-horses face the least danger from its enemies because other sea fishes do not like to eat them at all.