Dwarf Seahorse

Dwarf Seahorse Hippocampus zosterae

Type of Animal:

Seagrass areas, mangroves, among floating vegetation, mangrove roots, coral reefs, bays

Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas, Bermuda, & northern Caribbean

Come in variety of color shades from beige to white to green to yellow to black to tan to brown, can have white speckles, dark spots and/or protrusions-can change color to match surroundings, angled head, swims upright, very small seahorse

Amphipods, copepods, small shrimp, shrimp larvae, fish fry, zooplankton

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquariums, aquaculture, & zoos. Extra protections on trade & capture of these animals.

Small groups of 2-10 animals

Additional Info:

Male: Seastallion
Female: Seamare
Young: Fry
Group: Herd
0.07-0.08 oz

2 weeks 

Life Span:
1-2 years

1 in

Body Length:
1 in

Tail Length:
Male: 0.5 in
Female: 0.4 in

Main predators are many fish, crabs, & waterbirds.
Like other seahorses, they have excellent camouflage.
3rd smallest seahorse in the world.
While stable, they do face threats such as habitat loss/destruction, pollution, oil spills, ocean acidification, & over-collection for aquarium trade/medicinal trade/ornamental trade.
Maturity reached at 3 months old.
Males compete for females by tail wrestling & head snapping towards each other as well as making clicking sounds.
During courtship, both male & female change color & take turns quivering. This phase lasts for 1-2 days (usually in morning) before mating. The other phases occur on the day of mating-female points head upward & male displays quivering/pumping behaviors. Next, male assumes pointing posture. Finally, mating pair repeatedly rise in water column & they intertwine tails.
These animals are ambush predators, sucking prey w/ snout.
Breed from mid-February to late October.
Like many other seahorses, these fish are very sedentary.

Fun Fact(s):
One of the easiest seahorses to breed in captivity.
Like other seahorses, they lack teeth & stomachs.
Head fins can beat up to 50 times a second.
Like other seahorses, males get pregnant & develop brood pouch. Females insert egg-laying organ into male’s pouch, laying her eggs w/ male fertilizing them. Females deposit 3-55 eggs. 10-14 days later, male gives birth to 3-55 fry. Afterwards, fry are on their own.
One of the most popular seahorse species in aquarium trade due to small size.
According to Guinness Book of World Records, world’s slowest-moving fish w/ top speed of 5 ft an hour.

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