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contact: Kathie Fulgham - 423/785-3007 or Katrina Craven - 423/785-3011

Sea magic, sea wonder
Frequently asked questions and fun facts about seahorses

What are seahorses?
Despite their whimsical appearance, the seahorse is really a bony fish. Seahorses are in the family, Syngnathidae, the same family as seadragons and pipefish.

How big can seahorses grow to be?
Within the 32 species of seahorses, there is a vast range of sizes. Seahorses can vary from less than one inch in length to more than a foot long.

How long do seahorses live?
Although more research is needed for a definitive answer, most seahorses live from about one year to about four years.

What do seahorses eat?
In the wild, seahorses eat live shrimp larvae and other small crustaceans. Seahorses have eyes that move independently of each other and this helps them spot food. They suck their food up through their bony snouts, almost as if it were a straw. Because they have no true stomachs, seahorses must eat large quantities for food to compensate for their fast rate of digestion.

Fun Seahorse Facts

  • Seahorses are the only fish with prehensile tails-tails that are designed to grasp or hold. They use their tails to hold onto objects-like sea grass, coral or each other.

  • The bony plates on seahorses provide protection from predators and in some species, make the body semi-rigid. Because of this, seahorses don't move their bodies in a wavelike fashion as most fish do. Instead, they glide gracefully by fanning their delicate fins.

  • Seahorses are voracious eaters. They suck in food and swallow it whole because they do not have teeth. They have no true stomachs, and their food passes rapidly through their digestive systems.
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