Long-Snouted Seahorse - Hippocampus guttulatus
Status: Data Deficient … Long-snouted Seahorse have no teeth and hoover up their food, mainly tiny shrimps
Location: Along the Atlantic coast from the UK, Ireland and Netherlands to the Mediterranean Sea.
Size: 10.9cm to 12.5cm in adulthood.
Habitat: Rocky areas, sand/silt ripples and on coral and sponges.
Whilst the IUCN classifies this species as data deficient, wherever data is available, long-snouted seahorse populations often appear to be declining. They can be scarce in some locations but locally abundant in others. The major continuing threats to the long-snouted seahorse are habitat degradation and disturbance by human activities such as coastal developments and receational boat use and impacts on key habitats. They may also be affected by fishing gear (e.g. trawls and dredges) and pollution from shoreside run-off and boat traffic.
Protected in the UK, elsewhere in their range they are sometimes sold as curiosities and good-luck charms when obtained as bycatch, and are collected occasionally under permits for display in local public aquariums. The IUCN assessment doesn’t consider these activities as threatening to the species globally, but population surveys throughout its range are urgently needed to understand the conservation status of this iconic marine fish.
Also known as the spiny seahorse, its long snout is more than one third of the length of its head.
Did you know?
- The male seahorse becomes ‘pregnant’ after the female lays her eggs into a pouch on his stomach – they’re fertilised and the pouch is sealed until the eggs hatch.
- The seahorse has no scales – its skin is stretched over bony plates which look like rings all round the body.
- Very few predators are known to target adult seahorses.
What MCS is doing:
- Campaigning for more - and better management of - marine protected areas to protect seahorses and their habitats from damaging activities;
- Campaigning for better water quality in UK seas, including at inshore seahorse habitats;
- Recording the distribution of seahorses and their habitats in UK waters through our Seasearch volunteer diver survey programme.