Biology

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BIOLOGY

An excellent diagram of seahorse anatomy can be found at Seahorse.org

A seahorse uses it's dorsal fin to move forward and it's pectoral fins for control turning and steering.

The front of a male seahorse is gently rounded with the brood pouch below the abdomen.  The female has a sharper angle at the bottom of the abdomen going directly to the top of the tail.  The anal fin can also be a clue to gender as you will find it at the juncture of the abdomen and the tail of the female, the male anal fin is between the abdomen and the brood pouch but can be difficult to see as the male tends to keep the anal fin tucked in close.

Each eye moves independently so the seahorse can actually look in two directions at the same time.  It can be a bit disconcerting when you first see them do this.

The coronet (a raised "crown" on the top of their head) is nearly as distinctive as a human thumbprint and the shape is an important clue as to species of the seahorse.  Many seahorses in nature have cirri which are filaments of skin sticking out from their body.  Cirri are used to blend with surroundings and often disappear in captivity but not always.

Seahorses change color.   This is still being studied but it appears that each seahorse has a range of available colors based on species and heredity.  Most will have a "base" color which is somewhat stable but can be changed entirely.  Our yellow kuda was mostly black when we bought her.  Most will exhibit lighter colors for greetings and mating.  Color changes are also associated with surroundings, health, and stress levels but the details are not clearly understood.

Seahorses have no teeth and swallow their food whole, they also lack a stomach and food is digested in the intestines.  When a large quantity of food is eaten in a short period of time, the food can be pushed through without digestion occurring.  For information on feeding please see the Nutrition page.

 



   

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