A family of fishes with a body encased in a hard armour. This means that they use the dorsal fin as a means of propulsion. The seahorses use the dorsal fin exclusively for swimming and the pipefishes use it for slow movements, with the pectoral fin vibrated to keep the fish steady, but the pipefish are able to wriggle their long slim bodies (the extent varies between species) to escape predators.
In this family only, the males incubate the eggs in a groove or a fold, and in the seahorses they are kept within a brood pouch.
family usually inhabit the shallow seas, but some live deeper than 30 metres,
and a few species are pelagic
(i.e. live in the surface waters of the open ocean).
Neil Garrick-Maidment runs the Seahorse Nature Aquarium in Exeter, (now moved to the National Aquarium at Plymouth), and he passes on his knowledge of keeping and breeding them in captivity in this small book. The most important snippet of information is on page 15 when it says that adult seahorses eat about 40 mysid shrimps a day.
"Every year, huge numbers of seahorses die
in aquaria as a result of the lack of accurate information on
how to keep them. This book redresses the balance by giving a comprehensive account of how to care for
these most difficult of marine fish, but also stresses the need for conservation in the wild".
Feeding live food to seahorses is more likely than not to be an insurmountable
problem for the home aquarist, and anybody wishing to keep this fish will
need to buy this book. If you are just interested in these fascinating
fish the 48 page book contains information not published elsewhere.
Full Book Review
Greater Pipefish, Syngnathus acus.
Very common, widespread.
Aquarium Study of the Greater Pipefish
Lesser Pipefish, Syngnathus rostellatus. Very common, widespread.
Deep-snouted Pipefish, Syngnathus typhle. Local, frequent.
Straight-nosed Pipefish, Nerophis ophidion. Local, uncommon on the shore.
Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis. Very common in the south and west only. Unknown from the east coast.
Snake Pipefish, Enterulus aequoreus. Uncommon, west coast only, frequent in some areas.
Seahorse, Hippocampus ramolosus. Rare in English Channel, Dorset
and western approaches only.
Now Hippocampus guttulatus
Short-nosed Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus. Occasionally found in deep water around the Channel Islands. Extremely rare, probably absent elsewhere. Also recorded off the coast of Holland in 1998.
BMLSS SEAHORSE PAGE
Feeding Pipefishes: Mysids
Leafy Sea Dragon (MLSSA List of Photographs of Australian Marine Fish)
Seahorse Park - Facts & Figures
List of the
Photographs by Michelle Legg
All Seahorses are a protected species in British seas and collection for whatever reason is illegal.
My basset dog found a Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, just east of Splash Point (east of Worthing Pier) on Worthing beach. Although it was dead and slightly smelly, it was intact. The Seahorse was found at high tide.
1 August 2006
Another Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was discovered washed up on the strandline, near Brighton Pier (=Palace Pier) by beginning of Volk’s Railway (TQ 315038). The discoverer was a Mr J Chapman.
c. 8 June 2006
A Sea Horse, Hippocampus sp., was spotted and collected in a bucket by Edward Wilson (aged 8) near the entrance of the outer harbour of Brighton Marina, Sussex. The adult fish of an estimated height of 150 mm (6 inches) was seen to swim away in a healthy condition. The identification was confirmed by a photograph. Sea Horses were regarded as rare from the seas off Sussex until this year.
28 April 2006
An extremely interesting report of three Sea Horses, Hippocampus hippocampus* reported by Southwick (West Sussex) fishermen; the fishermen say they are the first caught for several years and other fishermen are reporting them in their fixed nets several miles offshore. The identity of these fish has not been verified personally, but Sea Horses are known to be rarely captured from the Sussex coast.
(*The species, one of two, is not known.)
hippocampus, washed up on the beach at
(near Bognor Regis) West Sussex in late March
Photograph provided by Dee Christensen (Nature Coast Project)
A Whiting was caught on rod and line four miles out of Brighton, Sussex, and it promptly regurgitated a Seahorse, Hippocampus sp. Seahorses are not known off the Sussex coasts, although I have received at least one unconfirmed sighting before. This is probably the Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus. (It is usually the shallow water species Hippocampus guttulatus that has been recorded off the Dorset coast.)
A pregnant male Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, was discovered and photographed in Poole Bay, Dorset. This is the first recorded instance of a pregnant Seahorse in the northern English Channel and anywhere in the seas surrounding the British Isles and is therefore the first confirmed instance of successful breeding, which has long been suspected. Discharge of the young into the shallow sheltered ways of Poole Bay seemed imminent.
Late November 2002
A Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, is captured by an oyster fisherman in the Solent. In Victorian times, there are records from off Dorset and the Solent.
Late August 2002
Three specimens of the Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, were discovered about 95 miles east of the Solent in the English Channel. They were picked up during DEFRA sponsored fish habitat studies by the University of Wales Bangor research vessel Prince Madog. Each came up in separate gear deployments, though at a single sampling station. On UWTV the benthic biotope where they came from was seen to be sand with a dense bed of tube worms, Lanice conchilega. All three seahorses were "pregnant" males.Report by Ivor Rees
There have been further reports of Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, from around the Channel Islands. Fisherman Steve Ryall hauled them up in his nets together with Lumpsuckers and large Soles over 3 kg in weight. The Seahorses were returned alive. Lobster and crab fisherman Andy Egre reports catching two large Seahorses in his pots about a mile and a half off Rozel in 30 metres of water in an area of strong tides.
The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of Wales shows confirmed records of the Seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus) in north Cardigan Bay, Pembrokeshire and the Severn Estuary! I would be extremely interested to hear from you if you find any!!!
You could also try looking in the Seagrass beds at Port Dinllaen (which appear to survive being in a mooring area so I can't see a few divers causing any damage). Also Shell Island just south of Harlech could be a good shore dive for looking for them - very shallow and weedy, quite interesting at times but varies too.
Paul Kay BSc FRPS - Marine Wildlife Photo Agency
Photography - underwater & above!
This is still known as Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus) until the identification and renaming has been approved in Switzerland by the nomenclature society.
They start to breed at about 6 months but are seasonal.
|Class:||Osteichthyes (bony fishes)|
|Subclass:||Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)|
The other suborder in the Order is the Aulostomoidei.
I think the Snipefish, Macrorhamphosus scolopax, is included in this Order.
In the books the Syngnathidae are usually placed after the Dories (Zeiformes) and before the Sticklebacks (Gasterosteiformes).
However, this may have changed recently. AH 2000
MARINE WILDLIFE of the NE ATLANTIC
EFORUM PAGE (LINK TO)