Seahorses

Artigo Cavalos Marinhos
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Seahorses

Learn a little more about this interesting species. In Greek mythology, there was already talk of a sea monster, which was half fish, half horse and whose name was Hipocampo (Figure 1)

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Figure 1 – Hipocampo, creature from greek mythology

 

Nowadays, this monster is “represented” by the friendly and peculiar seahorse (Figure 2)

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Figure 2 – Seahorse

The seahorse is a bony fish, which has nothing to do with the bony fish we are used to seeing (fish such as mackerel, wrasse…). Its name comes from the shape of its head, which is similar to that of horses, and unlike other fish that have a tail fin, in the seahorse this is non-existent. In its place there is an “arm” that allows this animal to cling to any structure (algae, coral, rock) on the seabed.

As it does not have a tail fin, it is the dorsal fin (the one on its back) that helps it to move in the water. And here the peculiarities of this small animal begin: the absence of a tail fin forces it to be in a vertical position and swim that way (unlike other fish that swim horizontally).

Another peculiarity of this animal is that it is the males that become pregnant and give birth to 300 offspring.

There are several species of this animal around the world, from the smallest with 4cm in length, to the largest of 30cm. But it is in Portugal that there is the largest community of seahorses in Europe, namely in the Ria Formosa, in the Algarve, with two species (Hippocampus guttulatos and Hippocampus hippocampus).

In the Azores there is the species Hippocampus hippocampus, which is protected.

But like so many other species, seahorses are also at risk with habitat loss, morphological alterations to the bottom, accidental fishing or fishing directed to serve as aquarium animals or as any miraculous product (which has nothing to do with miracles) in the Asian trade.

So let's make an effort and make sure this species doesn't disappear.

 

References:

https://www.britannica.com/animal/sea-horse

http://ourmarinespecies.com/c-seahorse/seahorse/

http://www.projectseahorse.org/seahorses

https://nationalgeographic.sapo.pt/natureza/grandes-reportagens/1235-a-maior-comunidade-de-cavalos-marinhos-do-mundo-vive-na-ria-formosa

https://www.publico.pt/2018/11/05/ciencia/noticia/amanda-vincent-portugal-nao-dar-atencao-devida-populacao-cavalosmarinhos-ria-formosa-1849658

https://expresso.pt/sociedade/2019-08-01-Aqui-so-resta-um-cavalo-marinho-1

http://galeria.azoresbioportal.angra.uac.pt/index.php

http://naturlink.pt/article.aspx?menuid=2&cid=5744&bl=1&viewall=true

 

Figure 1 - https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipocampo_(mitologia)

Figure 2 – https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/1292196/sabia-que-o-cavalo-marinho-macho-tem-aproximadamente-300-crias

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