Flirtatious Shorthead seahorses
By Ebba Hooft-Toomey
Our latest featured iSeahorse observation is this beautiful Shorthead seahorse (Hippocampus breviceps) by iNaturalist user ken_flan. It is also known as the Knobby seahorse and lives in southwestern and southeastern coastal Australia. It’s clear where this seahorse gets its common names as it is characterized by a short snout and fleshy tendrils on its head and back.
While not much is known about H. breviceps, our director, Dr. Amanda Vincent, researched this mysterious species in 2004 and she discovered a few fascinating facts. For example, H. breviceps moves within quite a small area, from 1 to 12 square meters. Interestingly, movement patterns varied between sexes – with the females moving through twice as much space as males. Both genders tended stay within seaweed beds. Amanda also found that the seahorses engage in displays with opposite sex partners. Surprisingly, these seahorses “flirted” with more than one partner, breaking the assumption that seahorses are monogamous! Even though Amanda’s work made some interesting discoveries it also emphasized the fact that there is a lot more to learn about seahorses.
Learn more about Hippocampus breviceps
IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/10063/54904334