Last Reviewed and Updated on August 2, 2022
Seahorses are one of the most fascinating creatures on Earth. Not only are they one of the only two species of animals where the male carries the babies to term, but they have even more unique traits to them. Learn some of the most interesting facts about seahorses, one of the most fun animals out there.
1. Seahorses are fish
We are starting off this list of facts about seahorses by defining just what type of animal they are. They might not look like regular-looking fish, but seahorses are, in fact, fish. They have many unique features that set them apart from most other fish species, but they are still a type of fish. Like fish, they have gills and swim bladders that allow them to control their buoyancy.
2. Seahorse males bear the young
Sea horses are one of the only animal species where the male bears the young. The only other known species are sea dragons, close relatives to sea horses.
When a female and male seahorse mate, the female will deposit the eggs into the male’s pouch. The eggs are fertilized as they enter the pouch. The male incubates the eggs, and the seahorses hatch inside the pouch, which they later leave.
Seahorses don’t nurture their young when they are born.
3. They are the only fish that swim upright, with heads up
These fish swim in a unique way; they swim upright. Not even their close relatives, the sea dragons swim upright.
Another species of fish swims with its body being vertical. The shrimp fish maintains a vertical orientation, but unlike the seahorse, this fish swims with its head on the bottom.
4. They have the ability to change colors
Seahorses change color to blend with their surroundings both to avoid being eaten and to catch food easier. The color changing may also be present in their mating rituals.
5. They anchor themselves to plants or corals with their tails
They are not the best swimmers as far as fish go. Whenever possible, they will anchor themselves to sea vegetation or objects in the sea to stay in place, especially when they are resting or if there is a storm.
6. There are 46 known species of seahorses
One of the coolest facts about seahorses is their diversity. From weirdly adorable (just check the Gorgonian Pygmy Seahorse) to a super small dwarf seahorse, there is much variety in seahorse species.
7. They don’t have scales
They don’t have scales. What they do have is a series of bony plates covered with thin skin. These bony plates protect them from predators.
8. Sometimes, they swim in pairs, wrapping their tails together
When seahorses are courting, they may swim side by side, holding tails. The courting pair may also grip the same strand of sea grass with their tails and wheel around the strand in unison, a behavior that is known as predawn dance.
9. Seahorses suck in food
A seahorse will carefully get close to its prey without alerting it. Once close enough, it will rapidly move its head to bring the snout close to the prey, sucking the prey in through its mouth.
10. Seahorses don’t have ribs
A tradeoff for their bony plates was their ribs. They do have a backbone, though.
11. Like most fish, they don’t have eyelids
A seahorse can’t blink as it has no eyelids, like the majority of the fish.
12. The dwarf seahorse is the slowest fish
If you are wondering who keeps the world record for the slowest fish in the sea – it’s the dwarf seahorse. It only moves about 5 feet / 1.5 m per hour.
13. They can move their eyes independently
They might not be able to blink as we can, but they have an ability we don’t. Seahorses can move each of their eyes independently, much like a chameleon.
14. A baby seahorse is called a fry
A baby seahorse is called a fry. The male and female of the species are officially called just that, a male seahorse and a female seahorse but can be referred to as seamares and seastallion as well.