Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810
lined seahorse, Northern seahorse, Sea horse, Spotted sea horse, horsefish, seahorse, spotted seahorse
Seahorses are fairly unusual amongst fish for being monogamous, mating exclusively with the same partner throughout their life, or until their partner dies. 'Greeting dances' are performed each morning by the pair to confirm and strengthen their bond (4). Unusually, it is the male, and not the female, that becomes pregnant in seahorses (7). Males have an incubation, or brood, pocket on the lower side of their tail, into which female lined seahorses spray between 250 and 650 eggs during courtship, depending on the size of the individual. Egg development within the brood pocket lasts around 20 to 21 days. After hatching, the embryos continue to be carried in the pouch until they are capable of fairly active swimming (4). Young look like miniature adult seahorses, are independent from birth, and receive no further parental care (7). Adult size is attained in eight to ten months (4). Seahorses are carnivorous species that are unable to move rapidly enough to chase their prey. Thus, they use their elongated snout to suck in small crustaceans, such as baby brine shrimp, and may feed for up to ten hours each day (4).