In this video you see the extremes of seahorse movement -- first moving so slow you're about to turn away from boredom and then so fast you aren't sure if you actually did see it move, you just know its prey is suddenly gone. Seahorses (Hippocampus spp of the family Syngnathidae) are fascinating examples of bony fish. Seahorse (also written sea-horse and sea horse) is the name given to 46 species of small marine fish in the genus Hippocampus. Most wild seahorses (here the thorny seahorse Hippocampus histrix) are monogamous and some species mate for life. Here, I'll give you a minute to absorb that. Even though these charismatic creatures are banned as trade items, they are still heavily traded in the illicit international markets. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Although they are native to the waters off more than 130 countries, seahorses are patchy in distribution. Using advanced imaging techniques, researchers filmed the seahorse's kill shot in action. Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. And who would have thought that such gentle, slow creatures could be so mightily fast when it comes to snagging a meal. Then with a lightening-fast movement of its head, the prey is in the seahorse's mouth before anyone but the seahorse realizes what just happened. Searching for mates can be difficult and risky since seahorses are poor swimmers, found in low densities and rely on camouflage to hide from predators. A complete overhaul of fishing policies, requiring global cooperation, is needed to achieve a sustainable system. Male seahorses are the ones who give birth. Because seahorses move so slowly, they are able to sneak up on them virtually undetected. They have a unique body morphology with a horse-shaped head, large eyes, curved trunk, and a prehensile tail. Seahorses tend to have low birth rates, with lengthy parental care. ©2020 Verizon Media. This approach works an astounding 90% of the time, making the seahorse one of the deadliest predators in the ocean.". "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek hippokampos (ἱππόκαμπος hippókampos), itself from hippos (ἵππος híppos) meaning "horse" and kampos (κάμπος kámpos) meaning "sea monster". Their odd head morphology allows this technique to be successful, because it actually doesn’t disturb the water very much, kind of like how a boat moves through a no wake zone in a lake. While a great white's successful kill rate hovers around 48 percent, the seahorse boasts a 90 percent success rate, mainly, researchers say, because of its oddly shaped head. Seahorses themselves are intentionally harvested by people for the curio and aquarium trade and for traditional me… As stated above, seahorses attach to coral reefs and call it their home. No, one of the deadliest creatures in the sea is not a species we even think of as a predator at all. Yes, Seahorses. The most commonly traded seahorse species, Hippocampus erectus, is considered "vulnerable" due to its popularity in aquariums, as a curio and in traditional Chinese medicine. It's not bluefin tuna. If you picked seahorse, you're dead wrong. In addition, the waters they live in are often exploited by people such as for fishing or urban development which degrades and destroys their habitat. Even in the slow-motion replay, the move is lightning fast: And a 90% accuracy?? A seahorse head moves through the water in near "hydrodynamic silence," meaning it barely disturbs the surrounding water and does not startle its prey as it approaches. Choose the least dangerous animal in the following list: great white shark, seahorse, vampire squid. It's not barracuda. Several characteristics make seahorses naturally vulnerable to extinction. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. The problem is that the areas where they take them from are becoming obsolete. By capturing fish faster than they can reproduce, we are harming entire ecosystems that interact with those species, from the food they eat to the predators that eat them. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that over 70% of the world’s fish species have been entirely exploited or depleted. Once they've sneaked close enough, they snap their heads toward the animal -- often a tiny crustacean known as a copepod -- in a move called "pivot feeding.".

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