Hippocampus erectus

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Lined Seahorse

Lined Seahorse - Hippocampus erectus


Seahorses like to live shallower waters in seagrass beds, especially in eelgrass. They are commonly found in estuaries as well.


Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean


Elongate body with one dorsal fin and two pectoral fins with the structure of the fins being composed of soft rays. The body of the lined seahorse may also spines on it as well. The head is horse-shaped, which is where the common name came from, and the tail is long and is used for holding onto the blades of seagrasses. Its snout, which is used for feeding, is long and slender. They can have varying colors and individuals can change their color during different seasons.

Ecological Notes

When lined seahorses mate, they usually mate for life. If they do not mate with the same individual for their entire life, they will at least stay with only one other individual for the mating season. The males are the ones that brood the eggs and give birth to the young seahorses. Seahorses are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and salinities. They feed mostly on amphipods and copepods but have been found to consume crustaceans, small gastropods, and shrimps.

Personal Information

I saw this species at the aquarium that we visited in Manteo. There were several seahorses in the tank as well as some other species of fish. It was very interesting to watch the way the seahorses held onto the available plants in the tank. They did not seem to move very much. When they did move it was usually just a back and forth motion that looked like it was because of water movement.

Journal Articles

Consi, T.R., et al. "The dorsal fin engine of the seahorse (Hippocampus sp.)." Journal of Morphology 248.1 (2001), 80 - 97.

This article discusses the way that seahorses use their fins for locomotion. It also discusses the mechanism behind seahorse locomotion.

Colson, Douglas J., Sheila N. Patek, Elizabeth L. Brainerd, and Sara M. Lewis. "Sound Production during Feeding in Hippocampus Seahorses (Syngnathidae)." Environmental Biology of Fishes 51.2 (1998): 221-29. ISI Web of Knowledge. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://journals.ohiolink.edu/ejc/pdf.cgi/Colson_Douglas_J.pdf?issn=03781909&issue=v51i0002&article=221_spdfihs>.

This article discusses the way that seahorses are capable of making noises while they are feeding. The researchers explored the purpose of the clicks produces as well as the origin of the sounds.

Information collected by Katie Huff, 2010

Other Sources: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/Linedseahorse.pdf , http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/Hippoc_erectu.htm , http://www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/assets/uploads/animals/pdf/LinedSeahorse.pdf

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