Nature never ceases to fascinate us with its amazing variety of life forms with different colours and extraordinary abilities and a clear example of this is the Pygmy Seahorse.
The pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus Bargibanti) is one of the rarest fish in the world, an animal that fits in very well as an amazing creature, worthy of admiration and also needs our protection.
Main characteristics of the Pygmy Seahorse
The body of the pygmy seahorse starts out thick at the top and gets thinner as it approaches the tail.
At the back of its head there is a gill with which they extract oxygen from the water.
This is a unique feature in this rare animal because all other seahorses have two gills.
Their tail is prehensile, which allows them to cling to the coral stems with enough force so that they are not carried away by the ocean currents.
They have no teeth or stomach, so they have no digestive system, making them even more unique.
One of the most outstanding and representative characteristics of this rare animal is its extraordinary ability to camouflage itself and adapt to its surroundings, far surpassing that of the chameleon, the species best known for that ability.
From the body of the pygmy seahorse come small lumps (also called bulbs) that are extraordinarily camouflaged by the reddish Muricella coral stems, making their visualization somewhat complicated.
In addition, it is only about 2.7 centimeters long from head to tail, which makes its sightings scarce.
However, if you pay attention, you can admire them and appreciate their exotic beauty.
On the other hand, the pygmy seahorses live in more or less populated communities, as up to 14 pairs per coral, which would be 28 seahorses per community.
Where does the Pygmy Seahorse live?
The environment in which the pygmy seahorse lives is very peculiar and limited since it only inhabits the gorgonian corals that grow at a depth of 14 – 20 meters.
An interesting detail is that unlike the other species of seahorses, this species does not leave its home with the passage of time, except by a greater force. In fact they hardly ever leave their gorgonia.
Its geographical distribution is mainly on the coral coasts of Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
What does it Feed on?
Its diet consists almost exclusively of molluscs, although in its first years of life it consumes plankton.
Reproduction of the Pygmy Seahorse
The pygmy seahorse is a monogamous species, which means that they only live with one partner in life.
The reproductive process of this rare fish is admirable, as the male would describe what for many women would represent “the perfect man”.
We say this because it is the male, and not the female, who is responsible for the gestation of the embryos in eggs that she carries in her abdominal region.
The female deposits the eggs in the male’s incubation bag where he fertilizes them.
Once the mating and fertilization period is completed, the gestation is completed two weeks later and the small offspring, whose number may vary but can reach a thousand, go out to sea.
Then, although the father gives them some protection, it is the little Hippocampus Bargibanti who ingest their own food, becoming independent from a young age.
What are its Predators and Threats?
Although these creatures are extraordinary, it is not known for sure what their natural predators are, but it is believed that among these are crabs and turtles.
The reason is that this animal has not been studied in detail in part because of the lack of funding from government agencies or private investors in the locations where the Pygmy seahorse comes to life.
However, it is quite likely that humans are one of the most important enemies of this animal, capturing it for display in aquariums.
For this reason, in countries such as Australia, this species is protected and the capture and extraction of the specimens is prohibited unless there is a duly managed and approved legal permit.
The beauty so admirable that gives us the nature must move us to value each form of life that inhabits the planet earth. There are no unimportant lives, only more fragile ones, and those of us who have the possibilities to help have that responsibility.
VIDEO: Sea Horse Camouflaging itself in its environment
In the following video, you will see how the seahorse lives and camouflages itself among the sea fans. They will remain with that unique sea fan all their life.