(Last Updated on : 23-08-2014)
Sea Horse bears an armoured body, head like a horse, tail like a monkey, and a pouch like a kangaroo. The bizarre Sea Horse (Hippocampus) is very rare among fishes. The head is set at right angles to the body, which is fully enclosed by cruciform, interlocking plates, whose edges often possesses spines or rounded knobs, quite unlike the scales of other fishes. The tail is prehensile and can be coiled around seaweed or twigs when the fish wishes to rest. It grows to twelve or fifteen centimetres long.
The Sea Horse swims in an upright position, the transparent dorsal fin vibrating rapidly to allow the fish to glide slowly and gracefully. Its prey, consisting of crustaceans or small fish, is sucked into the tubular mouth.
The Sea Horse is known for its parental care. After mating, the female transfers her eggs into a brood pouch on the male's belly. In the breeding season this pouch becomes soft, inflated and richly supplied with blood vessels. The young develop inside the pouch and are ejected as tiny replicas of the parents, so that apparently it is father which gives birth to the babies and not the mother.
The Pipe Fish (Syngnathus) is closely related to the seashore, but has a long, slender, tubular body covered in a series of jointed, bony rings. The broad pouch of the male consists of two elongated flaps of skin along the under side, where the eggs are incubated and young delivered in the same manner as the Sea Horse. Both these species of fish, i.e. Sea Horse and Pipe Fish are common in the coastal waters of India are usually found among marine weeds and submerged rocks where they obtain their food.
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