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Seahorses

(Hippocampinae)

Seamoths Pipefishes

Seahorses are a family of small fish with some unusual features. With a head, snout and neck resembling a horse, seahorses also have a fully enclosed brood pouch, an upright posture and a curled tail which has evolved to grasp and hold objects.

Although the 45 species of seahorses are bony fish, instead of scales, they have thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates, which are arranged in rings throughout their bodies. Each species has a different number of these bony rings.

These shy fish live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, estuaries, coral reefs, and mangroves. They are masters of camouflage, and can grow and reabsorb spiny appendages depending on their habitat. Seahorses can change colour very quickly and match any surroundings in which it finds itself.

Seahorses swim upright, propelling themselves using the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins, located on either side of the head behind their eyes, are used for steering.

Seahorses have excellent eyesight and their eyes are able to work independently on either side of their head. This means they can look forward and backward at the same time! This is particularly useful as they hunt for food by sight.

1 species found on this page.

Tiger Tail Seahorse

Hippocampus comes

Tiger Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes) @ Anemone Reef

Hippocampus comes @ Anemone Reef

Tiger tail seahorses are relatively large sea horses, reaching 6 cm - 10 cm in length and living up to 5 years. This species of seahorse can usually be found in pairs at a depth of 10 m - 20 m, mainly on coral reefs, sponge gardens, kelp and amongst seagrass.

Tiger Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes) @ Koh Haa

Tiger Tail Seahorse @ Koh Haa

The tiger tail seahorse can be black, brown or yellow, but always with a black-and-yellow banded tail. This species is nocturnal and site faithful which means that once we find a seahorse, we can usually find it in the same location over the following months.

Tiger tail seahorses feed on zooplankton and small crustaceans and spawn throughout the year, with the peak spawning season varying depending on their location.

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Seahorses

Spot Seahorses around Koh Lanta on one of our high season dive and snorkel trips.

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