Seahorses: Fish of the Sea Draft #1

This topic submitted by Sara Waits ( at 3:36 PM on 3/30/07.

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Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Seahorses: Fish of the Sea

Seahorses, which are actually fish, have always interested me. IÕve never seen one in the wild before, so one of my goals for this trip is to find one. It may be a hard task but through providing an overview of the species in general, their evolutionary history, life cycle and species common to the Atlantic Ocean, hopefully all of my research my aid me in locating one. There are a wide variety of seahorses and because they are so small, many people overlook them as creatures of the sea. My purpose in writing this paper is to educate and intrigue others about seahorses.

I. Introduction
A. Scientific name
B. Basic description (more detailed one to follow in overview)
C. Where they can be found in the wild (general-more info in habitats)

II. Overview of Seahorses
A. What kind of animal is a seahorse?
B. Different species found world wide
C. Habitats
1.) Natural (ocean/coral reefs)
2.) man-made (i.e. tanks for commercialism)
D. Feeding habits
E. Identifying Characteristics
1.) body parts (i.e. tail, fins, jaw)
2.) pouch
F. swimming ability

III. Evolutionary History
A. First discovered
1.) Western Pacific Region
2.) Atlantic Ocean Region
B. How they have adapted over the years
C. The role they play in the Coral reefs/oceanic food chain
1.) predator
2.) prey
3.) relationship with coral
D. Role of seahorses today
1.) commercial commodity
2.) medicinal purposes
3.) human interaction

IV. Life Cycle
A. Role of females
B. Role of males
C. Gestation period
D. What happens to the babies once they are born
E. Average life span
F. Growth rate
1.) average size range

V. Species commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean
A. Hippocampus genus
B. Florida
1.) H. erectus
C. Bahamas
1.) H. erectus- Lined Seahorse
2.) H. reidi- Long Snout Seahorse
3.) H. hippocampus- Short Snouted Seahorse
4.) H. zosterae- Dwarf Seahorse

VI. Conclusion


Casey, S.P., Hall, H.J., Stanley, H.F., & Vincent, A.C. J (2004). The origin and evolution
of seahorses (genus Hippocampus): a phylogenetic study using the cytochrome b gene of mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30, 261-272.

Curtis, J.M.R (2006). A case of mistaken identity: skin filaments are unreliable for
identifying Hippocampus guttulatus and Hippocampus hippocampus. Journal of Fish Biology, 69, 1855-1859.

Lourie, S.A. et al. 2004. A guide to the identification of seahorses. Project Seahorse and
TRAFFIC America. Washington D.C.: University of British Columbia and World Wildlife Fund.

Rochai, L.A., Robertson, D.R., Romans, J., & Bowen, B.W 2005). Ecological speciation
in tropical reef fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 272, 573-579.

Taylor, B. (1992). Coral Reef. New York, New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc..

Teske, P.R., Cherry, M.I., & Matthee, C.A (2004). The evolutionary history of seahorses
(Syngnathidae: Hippocampus): molecular data suggest a West Pacific origin and
two invasions of the Atlantic Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30, 273-286.

Uyarra, M.C. & Cote, I.M (2007). The quest for cryptic creatures: impacts of species-
focused recreational diving on corals. Biological Conservation. 136, 77-84.

Vincent, A (1995). A role for daily greetings in maintaining seahorse pair bonds. Animal
Behavior 49, 258-260.

Vincent, A., Ahnesjoe, I., Berglund, A., & Rosenqvist, G. (1992). Pipefishes and
seahorses: Are they all sex role reversed?.. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 7, 237-241.

Vincent, A.J.C (1994).Seahorses exhibit conventional sex roles in mating competition,
despite male pregnancy . Behaviour, 128, 135-152.

Vincent, A.J.C (1994).The international trade in seahorses . Traffic International,
Cambridge (UK).

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