Visitor InfoIMAXContributions & Membership

   HOME > Seahorses: Beyond Imagination > Seahorse Resource > Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

Untitled Document

[ Home | Plan Your Visit| IMAX Theater | Contributions l Membership | Events & Travel l Meet Our Animals l Conservation ]
[ Education | Get Involved | Online Gift Shop | NewsRoom | Links | Privacy Policy | ]

The Tennessee Aquarium is a non-profit institution. See how you can help support
our many education, conservation and research programs.

One Broad Street • Chattanooga • TN • 37402 • 800-262-0695