Common Seahorse – Hippocampus kuda
When you think about the visual look of a seahorse the one that will typically come to mind is that of the Common Seahorse. This is because it is the one that is found in art, used in various cultures for exhibits, and also found on tattoos that go on the human body.
It can be hard to accurately describe what a Common Seahorse looks like based on the fact that there are so many sub species. They can be many different colors but they will always be able to blend into their natural surroundings. They are among the smallest of all the species of seahorses found in the world.
Many people enjoy keeping them as pets in aquariums but that can be tough to do. They are very prone to bacteria and other types of disease that develop in the water. They are also going to experience high levels of stress in captivity. It is important to be fully trained before you pursue having one as a pet as it isn’t a simple process to keep them alive.
The coloration of the Common Seahorse often depends on the gender. In many locations the females feature yellow and they have dark spots all over the body. The males also have dark spots but they are larger and the base color is a shade of gray.
The males grow larger than the females with a size of about 1 inch. The females range in size from ½ inch to ¾ inch. When you take a close look at the coral net on top of the head you will notice it looks like a crown. The design of it and the size will be different for every single one of them. They can be identified by this design just like humans can be identified by their fingerprints.
This particular species of seahorse has a very smooth texture to the body. The verdict is still out but there is plenty speculation about why they don’t have the rough texture that the various other species around the world offer.
The Common Seahorse is very common along the coral reef areas. They will use their tails to lock onto it. This allows them to be able to remain in place in spite of the current around them. They aren’t good swimmers at all so they need to do what they can to rest their bodies.
The males become very aggressive towards each other when it is time to find a mate. Other than that they are usually very timid. They have been known to be aggressive though when they suffer from high levels of stress. Should there be a lack of food or the habitat gets too small it will cause high levels of stress to occur.
The Common Seahorse has been observed in many different types of settings. The consensus is that that are very intelligent creatures. They are able to remember patterns of behavior. They know where they will get food both in the wild and in captivity.
Habitat and Distribution
There are several well known locations where the Common Seahorse lives. They include all over Australia as well as places in Indonesia. They prefer the warm tropical water locations along the shoreline. They live in bodies of water that have seawater in them.
You may find them well hidden among the sea grass that is found in those locations. You may have to look very close for them because they do blend in amazingly well. The water will need to be at least 72 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they also don’t do well if the water gets too hot. That is why they tend to stay in areas that do go about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though there are some fossils of the Common Seahorse that date back 3 million years there isn’t much at all known regarding the evolution process. It is believed that they used to be substantially larger than they are today. The ability to live on less food is part of why they got smaller. The theories continue to float around though but there is very little concrete about how they branched off from other seahorse species due to the evolution process.
Diet and Feeding Habits
The location where the Common Seahorse happens to live strongly influences what they will eat. The main items are very small guppies and small Brine Shrimp. They have a large snout that they consume the food with. They have no teeth and they will swallow their prey. They can’t consume anything that is larger than that snout.
What is very interesting is that no seahorse has a digestive system. That is why they spend so much time feeding. They also eat very slowly so it can take them many hours each day to feed. When they aren’t eating they will typically be resting.
The females will find that many males are common around when the conditions are right for mating. The females will agree to mate as long as their basic needs are being met. The couple will spend several days with each other first. They have been observed mirroring each others behaviors.
This allows them to learn how to move in sync with each other. That will be a vital part of the mating process in the days ahead. The female is going to deposit many eggs into a pouch on the abdomen of the male. This is one of the few living creatures in the world where the male is responsible for getting the young into the world. The time it takes for them to arrive is from 4 – 5 weeks. If the water temperate is warm it will reduce the incubation period.
The young will have to take care of all their needs when they are born. However, there are many predators out there waiting to dine on them. This is why less than 1% of them actually make it in the wild long enough for them to mature and have offspring of their own.
It is typical for the male and the female to take part in depositing the eggs and having young two or three times per season. This is why there are myths that the seahorse mates for life. However, they really only mate with each other for a season and then they will mate with a new partner the following year.
There are quite a few different predators out there in the wild of the Common Seahorse. They include penguins and fish. Humans though are the biggest problem that they have to contend with. The problem with humans is that they tend to pollute the water where these seahorses live. Then it is harder for them to do well in such an environment.
Trapping of the Common Seahorse is also removing large numbers of them from the wild. They are sold as pets, sold to the Chinese to use as medicine, and even sold to make jewelry from. Such efforts really take a toll on the number of them that remain in the wild today. In some areas they are carefully protected but it doesn’t seem to do enough to deter the illegal capture and selling of them that occurs every single day.