UPDATE ON GLOUCESTER’S LITTLE SEAHORSE

Love the fins!

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Thank you to Tony and Abbie for allowing me to come by and get some footage of the spunky little seahorse. This is the fourth seahorse Tony has found, the second this week. He finds them feeding on tiny crustaceans in his lobster bait traps. I think this is a female. If you look closely in the above Instagram and compare with the diagram below, she does not have the male’s brood pouch.

Lined Seahorses are not strong swimmers; they ambush their prey by camouflaging themselves, changing color to blend with their environment. They are found in shades ranging from deep brownish black to gray to green, red, and oranges. Lined Seahorses feed on small crustaceans, fish larvae, and plankton. Their mouths are without teeth and instead of biting, use a sucking action to draw in food. Because a seahorse has no stomach, it must eat constantly.

Seahorses live in habitats where there is an abundance of vegetation to hold onto, for example, eel grass and seaweed in southern New England. On temperate shorelines they may curl their tail around mangrove roots and corals. It seems logical that Tony’s bait traps make a convenient feeding station, providing both food and a place on which to latch. Although rare, sightings as far north as Nova Scotia have been reported. Cape Cod is the tippy end of the Lined Seahorse’s northern breeding range.

Fun fact about Lined Seahorses: Scientists report that the males dance for their mate every morning as a way to bond.

The Lined Seahorse population is in decline; their species status is listed as “vulnerable.” The reason for the decline is not only habitat destruction, but sadly and preventably, because they are a popular commodity in the trinket trade.

A reporter from NECN and NBC contacted Tony and the story may be airing on NECN.  Let us know if you see the episode. Here’s a video Tony’s wife Abbie made, posted on GMG in 2010.  The seahorse in this video was caught in December, in Ipswich Bay, in 40 degree waters.

seahorse-anatomy-male-female
Anatomy of a seahorse from Google image search

7 comments

  • What will Tony Gross be doing with the seahorse? I hope that he will be returning it to ocean as they are in decline and removing them will contribute to that further. I appreciate the wonderful photos and I certainly hope it encourages a love and curiosity of the wonder of nature, but nothing was mentioned regarding the intention for the seahorse or of the previous ones that were caught and it would be nice to know.

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    • I haven’t emailed Tony today, but as of yesterday, they were waiting to hear back from the NEAquarium, which in the past has taken the seahorses. If the Aquarium does not want the little seahorse, it will be released back into the bay, if that has not already occurred.

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  • I was unaware there were so rare in our area. I believed they like octopus are in our area but elusive and difficult to catch or see. I caught a seahorse one day when pulling my lobster traps off Plum cove beach. I used a sit on kayak to tend my gear and the trap went directly from the water to the cockpit of my yak, so i was constantly tossing little eels, crabs and small fish over board. I brought the seahorse in for my young kids to see and released him in the shallows.

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  • This story fascinates me. Thank you for the seahorse information. I did see it on the news!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Excellent follow-up Kim and very nice other’s brought this forward! Seems the seahorse is standing ground when lobster get’s inside the circle of space🙂 Dave & Kim🙂

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