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A seahorse is a carnivorous fish that has a uniquely long tail, bent neck and long snout. Its head resembles that of a horse. Its size ranges from half an inch up to 14 inches. It breathes through its gills and clings to seagrass with its tail. It doesn’t have caudal fins but it has dorsal and pectoral fins. It eats crustaceans, like shrimp.
See the fact file below for more information on the seahorse or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Seahorse worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The scientific name of the seahorse is Hippocampus, which comes from the Greek word hippokampus. “Hippo” means “horse” and “kampus” means “sea monster”. Its head resembles that of a horse but it is indeed a fish. It belongs to the class of fish called Actinopterygii, also known as ray-finned fish or bony fish. Other types of ray-finned fish are catfish, cod and tuna.
- There are 53 species of seahorse, according to The World Register of Marine Species. Seahorses are usually found in shallow habitats. They occupy waters found in a tropical and temperate climates. They live close to shore, such as in coral reefs, mangroves and estuaries. Living near coral, seagrass and sea sponges provides shelter for them as well as helps them camouflage.
- The bodies of seahorses are spiny and bony, not scaly like those of fish. They have a tough exoskeleton.
- Seahorses are capable of looking forwards and backwards.
- Because they have pigmented and reflective cells called chromatophores, seahorses are able to blend into their environment by changing their color. They do so to protect themselves from predators. They are poor swimmers so it’s difficult for them to escape that way.
- Since they are bad swimmers, most of the time they just latch onto seaweed or other ocean debris in order to travel long distances across the ocean.
- They eat by suctioning food using their long snouts. Their diet consists mainly of crustaceans and plankton. Mysid shrimp and copepods are common crustaceans in their diet. Seahorses don’t have stomachs. Food passes through their digestive tract really quickly. This is why they eat a lot – up to 50 times a day!
- Their flexible tails are not just ornamental. They use their tails to cling to seagrass, coral, weeds and to dance with their partner during courtship and mating.
- Seahorses have interesting mating habits. When seahorses feed and undergo courtship, they make lip-smacking noises. Seahorse partners greet each other with a dance every morning to bond, sync their reproductive cycles and confirm that they’re both alive.
- Like sea dragons, male seahorses get pregnant instead of the females. The male fertilizes the eggs deposited by the female into his brood pouch. Seahorse embryos take two to four weeks to develop before they are birthed. Once they are released, they are on their own and have to fend for themselves and survive from predators.
- While many seahorses are monogamous, it is a myth that all seahorses mate for life.
- A group of seahorses is called a herd. Baby seahorses are called seahorse fry.
- One of the smallest species is the pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) found in the Coral Triangle in Indonesia.
- The smallest seahorse species, measuring 11mm, is Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus satomiae). It is found in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
- Another small species is the Denise’s pygmy seahorse, or the the yellow pygmy seahorse, found in Western Pacific waters. It measures 2.4 centimeters.
- The largest seahorse species, measuring 35 cm, is the big-bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis), found in New Zealand and Southern Australia.
- Found in the United States and the Bahamas is the dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae), which is considered the slowest moving fish in the Guiness Book of Records. It is already rare to find one.
- Some species, like the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus), live in cold waters, like in the U.K. and New Zealand.
- Seahorses are in danger of becoming extinct because of human activity. They are used as food, aquarium pets, souvenirs and in traditional medicine in Asia. Pollution and overfishing also affect their population negatively.
- The World Health Organization recognizes seahorses in traditional Asian medicine as valid. Some of its popular uses are growth spurt pills, aphrodisiacs and collagen products. Since the demand for seahorse is so high in this trade, this poses a major threat to their population.
- Because of their unique shape and bright colors, they are famous for being used as ornaments. When they are not being made into jewelry and other souvenirs, they are housed in aquariums.
- In 2011, a nonprofit organization called Save Our Seahorses was founded to raise awareness on trade and issues that may cause seahorse extinction.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about seahorse across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Seahorse worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a seahorse which is a carnivorous fish that has a uniquely long tail, bent neck and long snout. Its head resembles that of a horse. Its size ranges from half an inch up to 14 inches. It breathes through its gills and clings to seagrass with its tail. It doesn’t have caudal fins but it has dorsal and pectoral fins. It eats crustaceans, like shrimp.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Seahorses Facts
- Seahorse Structure
- Spot the Seahorse
- Sea Venn Diagram
- Special Species
- Search the Species
- Decode the Diet
- How to Court
- Wait, There’s More!
- In Danger
- My Own Fable
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Link will appear as Seahorse Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 25, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.