Skip to main content

Seahorses and Pipefish

There are nearly 50 species of seahorses, from the smallest at just 2.5cm to the largest to the Big Bellied Seahorse, which is around 12 times this size.

Although the Latin genus name for Seahorse is Hippocampus, which means 'horse monster', we don’t think our seahorses are monsters at all. We think they are some of the most beautiful creatures in the seas!

The male seahorse looks after the brood of babies in his pouch, so the female can start producing a new batch of eggs immediately, to increase the total number of young the pair create.


Things to Do

  • Find out why the seahorse is endangered in the wild
  • Learn how and why they hold onto the seas bedding plants
  • Watch our beautiful seahorses in Seahorse Nursery
  • Find out why seahorses reproduce every 3 months!
  • See how The SEA LIFE Trust and SEA LIFE work to breed, rescue and protect seahorses


You can find seahorses in oceans all over the world! There are over 40 species. Some live on coral reefs, others amoungst mangrove roots and many life in seagrass meadows. Pigmy Seahorses are as tiny as your little finger nail, but Big-belly Seahorses will be even bigger than your hand!

Their Ancient Greek name is Hippocampus, which means ‘horse sea monster’. But we don't think our seahorses are monsters at all!

Unfortunately, seahorses are at risk of extinction due to the pollution and destruction of their habitat. 150 million seahorses are also captured and killed every year to use in traditional medicine.

SEA LIFE campaigns to help protect vital seahorse habitats.


Pipefish are masters of disguise; their slim, elegant bodies look just like the seagrasses and seaweeds in which they live.

Like Seahorses and Seadragons they prey on tiny plankton which they suck up food through their straw-like snouts at lightening speed. Look for the tell-tale puff of shredded shell from their gills when they've just caught a tasty morsel!

Sea Horse

To swim, seahorses beat their dorsal fin 30-70 times a second!


Seahorse tails are prehensile. That means they can use them to grip things like a monkey's tail!

Big Belly Seahorse 266X176

Seahorse eyes can move independently of each other to help them spot food!