This Talented Swimmer Doesn’t Look Like a Fish
by Je'Niya Adams, age 11
Although a seahorse is a fish, it
barely resembles one. Its unique body structure and head shape are
thought to resemble a horse.
The seahorse’s jaw structure has
evolved so it is easier to feed among seaweed. Its snout is able to
suck weeds and tiny floating animals into its small mouth.
Most seahorses are found in the warm
oceans and seas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and in the
Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Seahorses can weigh as much as 8
ounces and grow to be 12 inches long. The skin of the seahorse is
very rough so it can protect itself from small predators. The dorsal
fin is formed by flexible extensions of the backbone; and it propels
the seahorse forward while they swim in an upright position. The
prehensile tail allows the fish to grip seaweed or another seahorse.
It is the only fish with this talent.
Seahorses can be a variety of different
colors. The maned seahorse possesses a 'mane' of dark spines. The
golden seahorse has a typical body shape but its skin is a golden
color, and the outgrowths of the leafy-sea dragon resemble foliage
providing camouflage against predators.
Seahorses usually mate during the
summer. Unlike humans, the male gives birth instead of the female.
The male has an incubation pouch where the female delivers her eggs
so he can then fertilize them. The incubation period can last
between 4 and 6 weeks. The female can produce between 1,500 and 2,000
eggs, depending the species.
Seahorses are fascinating creatures with
unique bodies and mating rituals. They are an important part of the
ocean’s sea life.
Encyclopedia of Animals]