Try to straddle a seahorse and one thing will become clear super fast: you can’t ride it. It’s just way too small. (Plus, let’s be serious here, you’d probably fall off trying to ride so upright.)
The spotted seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) can grow up to 30 centimetres long (about the length of a standard ruler) but there are others that are much smaller, including the pygmy seahorse, which can only reach a maximum length of just a couple of centimetres.
Lynn E., a Vancouver Aquarium volunteer, picked the spotted seahorse to highlight as November’s Staff Pick of the Month because she finds it “interesting that there are around 50 species of seahorses living in waters all over the world. I’m also surprised that a lot of people don’t know that they are actually a type of fish!”
Although seahorses have a dorsal fin and pectoral fins like other kinds of fishes, they aren’t very good at swimming. That’s why they have to rely on their ability to camouflage to hide from predators – escaping is just not a good option. They’ll use their tails to anchor themselves, on seagrass for example, hoping to blend in so predators don’t see them. Because they can be so hard to spot in the Tropic Zone gallery, Lynn enjoys pointing them out to Aquarium visitors who might otherwise accidentally walk by them.
Seahorses could be considered a romantic fish – they tend to be monogamous and only find a new partner once their mate has died. And during the reproductive process, it’s the male that does the hard work ‒ he, rather than the female, carries 20-1000 eggs for about a month until he gives birth by squirting his offspring from his kangaroo-like pouch.
Lynn finds these funny-looking fish delightful, saying, “It makes me really happy to come spend time with the seahorses because they are so tiny and adorable, but also move around so elegantly.”