Potbelly Seahorse

Hippocampus abdominalis

About This Animal

SIZE: 8-32 cm

RANGE: Australia and New Zealand

HABITAT: Algae, seagrass, rocky reefs, man-made objects

DIET: Zooplankton

ON EXHIBIT:  Seahorse exhibit in River Journey

The pot-bellied seahorse is one of the largest known species of seahorses. They have large swollen bellies, and use their strong prehensile tails and oscillating dorsal fins to manuever. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads and can move independently of one another. These seahorses have extremely large abdomens and live on rocky reefs, sea grass beds and around piers and jetties near Tasmania, Australia. 

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.