Experience the myth and magic of
"Seahorses: Beyond Imagination" at
the Tennessee Aquarium
Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2002) - Imagine an animal with a horse-like
head; a long snout; a looping, prehensile tail and bony plates
of armor. While that may sound like something out of a fairytale,
seahorses are not mythical beings, but beautiful, living creatures
that can be found in habitats all over the world.
Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga has opened its new changing
exhibit, "Seahorses: Beyond Imagination," and visitors
can take a journey into the kingdom of seahorses and discover
the secrets of these enchanting creatures.
tiny dwarf seahorses less than an inch in length to giant Pacific
seahorses that can grow to be nearly a foot long, these animals
challenge the conventional idea of what a fish should look like.
And yes, seahorses are fish, and so are the other-worldly seadragons
with their leafy flowing appendages.
marvels of nature will intrigue and delight visitors with their
surprising appearances and behaviors," said Thom Demas,
Aquarium senior aquarist. "Contrary to popular belief,
seahorses are really fish, complete with gills and fins, that
have existed for millions of years."
of the seahorse gallery include the rarely displayed weedy and
leafy seadragons. These unusual seahorse cousins look like fairytale
dragons, floating through the water with leaf-like "wings."
These flowery appendages provide excellent camouflage in their
native Australian kelp beds.
exotic gallery inhabitants include yellow seahorses; aptly named
potbellied seahorses; lined seahorses and several species of
pipefish, including the voracious alligator pipefish and the
striking bluestripe pipefish.
seadragons and pipefish are all members of the family Syngnathidae
and share several traits. In all species, males carry the babies.
Seahorses, seadragons and pipefish also have eyes that can move
independently of each other, have bony plates instead of scales,
share the same snout-like feeding mechanism and have no true
they may appear docile, they are ravenous eaters and consume
lots of zoo-plankton, which they suck in through their toothless
Beyond Imagination," brings to life the world of seahorses,
seadragons and pipefish through beautiful exhibits, innovative
graphic displays and fascinating video presentations. Visitors
to the gallery travel to a lush Tasmanian kelp bed, a colorful
Galapagos reef wall, the Florida keys, a portion of the Chesapeake
Bay and a reef edge in the Philippines to meet the animals that
live in these very different habitats. Information panels will
give children and adults a chance to discover fascinating facts
about each animal and high-resolution video will showcase some
of the unusual behaviors and adaptations of these fantastic
addition, an interactive computer program uses touch screens
to help visitors learn more about seahorse behavior and conservation.
Guests may also visit the discovery station and get an extreme
close-up of the seahorses' menu. Children can join a school
of pipefish when they climb into the pop-up tank, a domed exhibit
that makes kids feel like they're immersed in the water with
the animals. Finally, the gallery will feature a larger-than-life,
three-dimensional model of a seahorse - a hands-on opportunity
to learn about the parts of a seahorse.