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Seahorses are a species of fish belonging to the fish family Syngnathidae,which also includes pipefish.The pipefish and seahorse are found in tropical waters all over the Caribean.
Seahorses range in size from 16 mm (the recently discovered Hippocampus denise) to 35 cm.Seahorses and pipefishes are notable for being the only species in which males become "pregnant".
It has a dorsal fin located on the lower body and pectoral fins located on the head near their gills.Some species of seahorse are partly transparent and are rarely seen in pictures.
Sea dragons are close relatives of seahorses but have bigger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed or kelp beds.Seahorses and sea dragons feed on larval fishes and amphipods,such as small shrimp-like crustaceans called mysids ("sea lice"),sucking up their prey with their small mouths.Many of these amphipods feed on red algae that thrives in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live.
Seahorses reproduce in an unusual way:the male becomes pregnant.As stated on The Seahorse Project,"The female inserts her ovipositor into the male’s brood pouch,where she deposits her eggs,which the male fertilizes.The fertilized eggs then embed in the pouch wall and become enveloped with tissues." New research indicates the male releases sperm into the surrounding sea water during fertilization,and not directly into the pouch as was previously thought. Most seahorse species' pregnancies lasts approximately two to three weeks.
Hatched offspring are independent of their parents.Some spend time developing among the ocean plankton.At times,the male seahorse may try to consume some of the previously released offspring.Other species (H.zosterae) immediately begin life as sea-floor inhabitants (benthos).
Seahorses are generally monogamous,though several species (H.abdominalis among them) are highly gregarious.In monogamous pairs,the male and female will greet one another with courtship displays in the morning and sometimes in the evening to reinforce their pair bond.They spend the rest of the day separate from each other hunting for food.
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