Who does not know this adorable tiny creature like seahorses? With the Latin name, Hippocampus, it has meaning: horse caterpillar. Under the sea, it may be so noticeable since their body has an exoskeleton. Nevertheless, do you know what do seahorses eat?
Species and Seahorses Habitat
Alongside British coastline, we can find two types of seahorses’ species, which are Short Snouted Seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus) and Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus).
Both of them can be found commencing from Shetland Isles then going down into UK’s west coast around Ireland and along the south coast.
In general, you will find more than 54 species of seahorses across the world. It still consists of many possibilities countless sub-species until now. Sometimes, scientists also hard distinct each species since their appearances are so extremely various.
Their external skeletons of seahorses are specially designed to be hard to cover the flesh. However, they do not have any scales around.
If you want to see this cute animal, go to the shallow weedy areas will be an excellent option, particularly in the beds of eelgrass. Except when winter comes, they will swim deeper the sea to avoid rough temperature above.
Besides the bones, their pretty color so eyes pleasing and interesting to be learned. They can change quickly their color to adapt to their surroundings. Sometimes when there is floating debris, they can alter into bright red to camouflage themselves.
Seahorses are always identical with their long thin snout. The function is to ease those probing crannies and nooks for diet. Like a vacuum cleaner, they will suck their food up through the snout. Just in case they catch bigger prey, the snout will expand.
Eating Habit and Types of Diet
Seahorses have very strong capability on eyesight that helps them to find and locate the food. Unfortunately, they are not very good at swimming and it is such kinda boomerang for them. Nevertheless, swimming is not the only thing that makes eating becoming problematic.
Seahorses lack of stomach. The implication is, they need to constantly eat due to the very fast digestion upon every food that comes into their digestive system. Briefly, they do not have any capability to digest food in a long period to give “no-hungry” feeling.
Based on data from The Seahorses Trust, adult seahorses need almost 30 to 50 times eating each day. Compare to their baby, 3,000 pieces of food are necessary to support their life. So imagine how they have to find food continuously every time, every day.
Seahorses do not chew their food because they do not have any teeth. As a replacement, they suck the food with the snout and then swallow it in the whole shape.
If the seahorses’ body is not so big but the way they eat is swallowing it, then what is their food?
There is a variety type of preys that considered as what seahorses eat. Of course, they will find a very small one. Most likely, they will take small fishes, crustaceans like small copepods and shrimp, plankton, etc.
According to Scientific American, even though it is hard for them to swim, but they can use their neck as an advantage since it has special capability flexibly adapted. Therefore, it can help seahorses when they need to catch prey.
Their main strategy to ambush the preys is silently approaching the corals or plants to camouflage with the surrounding first. Immediately, they tilt their head and then suck the prey. Magically, all that action will produce typical sound.
At least three top plausible threats have to be dealt with seahorses. First is in term of illegal trading for medical purposes. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, seahorses are so beneficial for all kind of medicines.
Every year, no less than 150 million seahorses are captivated to be made as medicine.
Still in the context of illegal trading, second, roughly a million seahorses are trapped from the sea to be sold. Nevertheless, the technique of captivating is beyond immoral: human consciously takes seahorses alongside with starfishes and shells, and let them die under sunlight.
The purpose of this immoral thing is to be taken as a souvenir. That is pathetic behind the story of every souvenir from sea creatures. We sacrifice their life and threat their perseverance only for our temporary satisfaction.
Besides, the last, they are threatened with a human who deliberately takes seahorses to make it a pet. The estimation number is there are approximately a million seahorses from their natural habitat, must dying because of these things.
Without all of these three threats, seahorses can be considered as fragile creature since they are still baby. Baby seahorse, or widely known as fry, spend two until three weeks in the commencing of their life to hover along with plankton of the ocean.
Only less than one in a thousand will survive until adulthood.
So, from all of those explanations, now you know what do seahorses eat and much additional information. It’s such an amazing creature, right?