All seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus which is a part of the family Syngnathidae. This family also includes pipefishes. There are 32 cataloged species of seahorses living in the shallow tropical and temperate waters of the world. Seahorses range anywhere form 1 to 12 inches in length when fully grown and have an average life expectancy of 1 to 5 years depending on species. Thedwarf seahorseor Hippocampus zosterae is among the smallest of this genus. They are endemic to the Bahamas and the coastal waters of the southern US. The Hippocampus ingens will often grow to just over foot in length. They are native to the Pacific coast of Central America. The Hippocampus erectus is a medium sized seahorse growing to an average length of 7 inches. Here we will be focusing on the seashores in general and on the erectus as a single species. Here you can Buy dry seahorse
Populations of the H. erectus exist along the Atlantic coastline of North and South America and throughout the Gulf of Mexico ranging as far south as Uruguay and as far north as Nova Scotia. Some have cirri or sensory appendages on the heads. Others do not. These fish frequently have lined patterning throughout their body. They may of may not have “saddle markings.” This seahorse is commonly sold under the aquarium trade names as a northern or lined seahorse.
Northern seahorses come in a multitude of colors including white, black, grey, brown, green, yellow, orange and varying shades of reds. They are totally devoid of blue pigmentation but yet still can be found in pale blue and purple. Spots and diamond patterning are quite typical on this species. Coloration is not fixed. Seahorses have almost chameleon type properties. Their coloring will change in intensity depending on stress levels, mood, diet or any number of other as yet unidentified factors. Their melanophores (black pigment cells) will expand under stressful conditions making their appearance much darker. Their chromatophores (color pigmentation cells) will change is size and shaping depending on their state of anxiety. These are hormonal changes that can take place quite rapidly. A return to their “unstressed” coloration occurs much more slowly. Brighter colors indicate a sense of wellbeing and confidence in their surroundings. Seahorses also have the ability to change their coloration to better blend in with their surroundings. This is a natural means of camouflage typical among seahorses. These creature’s eyes operate independently of one another much like a chameleon’s does.