Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Syngnathiformes
(Pipefishes and seahorses) > Syngnathidae
(Pipefishes and seahorses) > Hippocampinae
Etymology: Hippocampus: Greek, ippos = horse + Greek,kampe = curvature (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; demersal; non-migratory; depth range 0 - 104 m (Ref. 52034). Temperate; 24°S - 50°S, 80°E - 120°W (Ref. 52034)
Southwest Pacific: Australia and New Zealand. Vulnerable (Ref. 30915). Occurrence in Thailand and the Philippines (Ref. 43081) needs verification. International trade is monitored through a licensing system (CITES II, since 5.15.04) and a minimum size of 10 cm applies.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 8.7  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 35.0 cm OT male/unsexed; (Ref. 6787); common length : 18.0 cm OT male/unsexed; (Ref. 9003)
Found in large rock pools at low tide. They remain motionless amidst seaweed. Juveniles are pelagic (Ref. 30915) or attached to drifting seaweeds (Ref. 31838). Feed on minute crustaceans (e.g. copepods and amphipods). Nocturnal (Ref. 9003). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch which is found under the tail (Ref. 205). Seen in groups at night. Also around jetties and other man-made objects; attached to sponges and colonial hydroids in deeper water (Ref. 30915). Length measurements refer to height (= TL - head length).
This is the largest seahorse species in southeastern Australia, and has more dorsal fin rays and tail rings than any other seahorse (Ref. 31838). Sold locally and internationally for the aquarium trade (Ref. 31838). Dried and sold to the Oriental medicine trade as a tonic and aphrodisiac (Ref. 5316, 34026).
Several subsequent broods are carried by the male in a brood pouch during the spawning season. Do not obviously pair, as other seahorses do (Ref. 30915). Fertilised eggs deposited by females in the pouch of males are incubated for about four weeks before hatching (Ref. 31838). Hatching occurs at night, coinciding with full moon periods during summer months (Ref. 31838). Young emerge from the pouch and immediately rise to the surface where they grasp floating debris with their tail (Ref. 31838).
Lourie, S.A., A.C.J. Vincent and H.J. Hall, 1999. Seahorses: an identification guide to the world's species and their conservation. Project Seahorse, London. 214 p. (Ref. 30915)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 14.1 - 19.8, mean 17 (based on 322 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00447 (0.00173 - 0.01152), b=3.00 (2.78 - 3.22), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm=1; Assuming annual Fec<1000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (19 of 100) .