Lined Seahorse

Hippocampus erectus

About This Animal

SIZE: 5.5-18.5 cm

RANGE: East coast of North America, Central America, South America to Brazil

HABITAT: Seagrass, sponges, floating sargassum

DIET: Zooplankton

ON EXHIBIT:  Seahorse exhibit in River Journey

Lined seahorses are one of the Tennessee Aquarium’s most prolific species.  An adult male can give birth to around 200 babies in one clutch.  These babies are exact replicas of their parents, but are only one centimeter in length.  Newborn lined seahorses feed on newly hatch brine shrimp. Lined seahorses may be black, light brown or red and are identified by the tiny white stripes on their heads. These animals are found in the Chesapeake Bay and all along the eastern coast of the United States to Florida.

Seahorse numbers are in decline worldwide due to unscrupulous fishing practices and over harvesting, 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.