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Dwarf Seahorses: Entry-Level Marine Breeding Project

A simple setup, live foods and a sexed pair is all it takes to successfully breed Hippocampus zosterae.

By Mike Hellweg |

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Aquarium Fish InternationalPeople have held seahorses in awe for millennia, though they are often not sure what to make of these amazing creatures. Seahorses have eyes like a chameleon that can move independently of one another, an exoskeleton like an insect, a pouch like a kangaroo and a grasping tail like a monkey. They can change color, seemingly float through the water by some mysterious form of propulsion (they have almost invisible fins), and it is the males that give birth to live young. Even scientists weren’t entirely sure what to make of them, so seahorses were considered to be aquatic insects well into the 1800s.

Zosterae Background
The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae), along with the entire Hippocampus genus, has been listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) since May of 2005. Due to extreme commercial (not the aquarium industry) pressure on a few species, this unprecedented action was taken without any population research on the various species. Today the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List considers H. zosterae as “data-deficient,” meaning that no one has really looked into the dwarf seahorse’s population dynamics. 

Want to read the full story? Pick up the May 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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