Seahorses are a curious group of creatures which belong to the Syngnathidae family. Try and say that three times fast!
All seahorses share some interesting traits; their jaws are fused to form a straw-like snout; instead of scales, they have thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates; they are poor swimmers, so they cling to vegetation with their tails.
You can find seahorses in oceans all over the world! There are over 40 species. Some live on coral reefs, others live around mangrove roots and many life in sea grass meadows. Pigmy seahorses are as tiny as your little finger nail, but Pot 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!
Perhaps the coolest thing about this group is that the males brood their babies! A male seahorse has a brooding pouch on its belly into which a female can place her eggs. After a few weeks when the babies are ready, the male seahorse gives birth. He rocks back and forth like a rocking-horse whilst the tiny baby seahorses pop out from a small hole in his tummy.
Unfortunately, seahorses are at risk of extinction due to the pollution and destruction of their habitats. 150 million seahorses are also captured and killed every year to use in traditional medicine.
You can discover these amazing creatures as you journey into our Seahorse Kingdom exhibit during your visit.