1. Their scientific name, “Hippocampus” comes from the Ancient Greek word hippos meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”.
2. Even though they are fish they are really poor swimmers and can often die of exhaustion in storms. They also might just hang around clinging onto to a piece of seaweed or eelgrass for a few days just resting.
3. It’s the males who give birth…yep its true! The female seahorse pops the eggs into the male and he waits out the gestation period and then contorts his body until the live young are pushed out. They even have contractions!
4. Their eyes work independently of each other! One eye can look forward and the other back!
5. The smallest seahorse is the Pygmy Seahorse and is around 2cm long and the largest is the Australian big-bellied Seahorse at around 35cm. However, there was a massive one caught in Poole, Dorset in 2015. It was thrown back unhurt which but was 34cm which is huge for a ‘spiny’ seahorse.
6. You can keep up to date with local conservation to see how you can help out. In the U.K. there is a project close to where I am which is the Dorset Wildlife Trust. The Trust supports Seahorses and other marine life. Read here to learn about Studland Bay and the amazing conservation work the they carry out.
7. It’s thought that they are at risk of extinction so what can we do to help? Well, firstly, steer clear of buying dried seahorses as souvenirs. Secondly, as they are used in some countries as herbal medicines, it’s best to try to find an alternative product so that using them starts to get less and less profitable. Thirdly, do not buy as pets for aquariums as they may of been taken from the wild and imported to the UK.
8. Seahorses are thought to hold magic qualities and there are stories of them wrapping their tail around people’s fingers and emitting a healing feeling to the person. This is the tale of folklore and not certified
9. There are organisations and charities who assist in the conservation of seahorses, there are some pointers below if you wish to become more involved in areas of marine life conservation.
Seahorses, have now been listed as endangered under the United Nations Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species. They are also protected under U.K. law.
10. There are further folklore tales of dried seahorses being used as good luck charms to assist in the production of breast milk for nursing mothers. Thankfully this was rare. Many cultures see it as a carnation from the seas gods and link it with strength and power.
A couple of additional links which I found useful are below.
I must also thank Emma Rance, Marine Conservation Officer with the Dorset Wildlife Trust in assisting with the factual accuracy of the post. Not the folklore aspect of course.
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