The world’s largest seahorse is about 6 feet long
Intro: The world’s largest seahorse can grow to a length of six feet and weigh more than 200 pounds. Scientists have found that the giant seahorse, or Hippocampus comes, lives in deep water on the continental slopes close to underwater volcanoes. This discovery was made by a team from the University of Queensland who focused their research on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as well as Papua New Guinea. In contrast, most other species of small fish live near shallower waters where food sources are plentiful.
On the deep seafloor, scientists found that seahorses lived in burrows inside a type of soft coral known as gorgonian. They also discovered numerous parasitic crustaceans called isopods living on the seahorses’ bodies and gorgonian. The crustaceans usually eat the algae that live on corals, but in this case, they were living off scraps of food left by their seahorse hosts.
Overall, the findings suggest that these seahorses might be the largest of all seahorse species and therefore help to define a new genus.
Seahorses are fish that are closely related to pipefish. They are bony fish with long snouts and resemble horses, which is where their name comes from. Seahorses inhabit shallow tropical waters throughout the world’s oceans. They generally prefer coral reefs or seagrass beds, where the seagrass provides camouflage whereas their coloring allows them to blend with the coral reefs.
The average lifespan of most species of seahorses is 2-5 years, but some species can live up to 20 years. Seahorses swim upright (not horizontally like other fish), which makes them easy to identify. Males are usually smaller than females and tend to take care of the eggs after mating. After the eggs hatch, the male carries the babies on his tail until their first meal. Seahorses eat small animals, such as insects and plankton, that they catch with their long snout.
Seahorses are a popular fish within the aquarium industry. They were first used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, but now it is illegal to sell seahorses for medicinal purposes. In 2003, the US banned the import of all seahorses but importing them illegally still occurs.