Seahorses Spotted at Deep Sea World

Spotted seahorse (2)

A colony of seahorses has arrived at Deep Sea World, Scotland’s national aquarium, to form part of a new captive breeding programme.

The 12-strong shoal of spotted seahorses is on display in a specially-designed tank at the North Queensferry wildlife attraction, and zoologists are hoping they will start to breed in the coming months.

The seahorse is unique in the animal kingdom in that it is the male rather than the female which carries the babies and gives birth to them via a special brood pouch on their stomach.

The female seahorse lays her eggs in the male’s pouch. He then fertilises them and incubates them until they’re ready to emerge into the great outdoors.

Deep Sea World’s Michael Morris said: “Seahorses are definitely one of the marine world’s most intriguing species and they have fascinated humans since Classical times.

“They’re also extremely popular among visitors and we’re hoping this group will settle in quickly and start to breed,” he added.

Found throughout south east Asia, Australia, Japan and Hawaii the spotted seahorse is officially listed as vulnerable in the IUCN red list of threatened species.

In the wild virtually all of the approximate 35 species of seahorse are now under threat from a variety of sources.

These include loss of habitat, pollution, the souvenir trade and traditional Far East medicine – believed to account for the deaths of more than 20 million seahorses annually.

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