Thursday, May 20, 2010

Extraordinary animal, the Seahorse!

It will be funny to see a tiny horse head to move about inside a aquarium tank, isn't it? It will also be exciting to see it as a 'mermaid' of horse! It is a Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda, 'Kadal kuthirai' in Tamil). It is not a mammal; but it is actually a bony fish! It lives in sheltered shallow waters containing coral reefs and sea weeds.

It has bobbing movements and swims upright using its fins, unlike fish that move only horizontally. Size varies from one inch to one foot. There are also news about the discovery of a quite smaller varieties, now and then (Pygmy Seahorses- less than 1cm!). The seahorses are brown to gray mostly, and they also turn bright-colored at times of social movements. They often hold sea weeds with their prehensile tails and fix themselves to them. Each of their eyes move independent of the other! Shrimps, tiny fish and plankton are their diets. The most striking nature in seahorses is that the males receive into their egg pouch the eggs that the female inserts, fertilize them and 'bear' them all till they hatch out into new born babies! Males give the essential oxygen and warmth to the eggs, and also the safety. This spares the female to get ready earlier for laying the next clutch of eggs. Thus the survival rate of babies is increased as also the reproduction frequency! In spite of all these reproductive tactics, seahorses have now become endangered, as they are in much demand for making traditional medicines.Seahorse is a wonderful and extraordinary animal having extraordinary nature and lifestyle!

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