Dwarf Seahorse

Hippocampus zosterae

About This Animal

SIZE: 2 in (5 cm)

RANGE: Western Atlantic Ocean

HABITAT: Shallow grass flats

DIET: Small shrimps and microinvertebrates

ON EXHIBIT: Seahorse exhibit in River Journey

This is one of the smallest seahorse species in the world. Like other seahorses, the dwarfs can change color to more closely match their surroundings. Many seahorses have elaborate courtship rituals that involve tail wrapping, head bobbing and color changes.

Seahorse numbers are in decline worldwide due to unscrupulous fishing practices and overharvesting, mostly for the Chinese medicine trade.  In 2004, all seahorse species were listed under the Conservation of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) as appendix II.  This means that all trade of seahorses is strictly regulated and size limitations are imposed, ensuring that there is enough breeding activity to sustain the species.