Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Last chance to see…. The Seahorse

Seahorses are weird. They are iconic creatures in their appearance. A strange shape body, tiny fins for swimming an unusual tail for clinging on.

And of course their unusual family raising habits. With dad giving birth to the babies after incubating them.

They have loyal mating habits where two seahorses stay together and keep producing young over many seasons.

And I think they’re amazing they are amongst my favourite sea creatures and I’ve had the privilege of seeing them in three separate places in the wild.

In Lanzarote, off Africa, we visited a mating pair on a daily basis during a trip in 2005. One was yellow and the other was brown. They inhabited a small rocky patch on the white sands in just ten metres of water.

Meanwhile in the coral triangle tiny hippocampus Denise was a special sighting for us on a fan coral.

IMG_8242.JPG

Barely the size of a grain of rice, this tiny creature was only identified during scientific coral sampling in the early 2000s when one specimen started moving.

Amazing creatures. Odd looking and unfamiliar in their habits.

You can imagine my reaction when we found this on the bbc last week.

Last Seahorse in Studland

Studland is on the Dorset Coast in England. Its a beautiful part of the coast and a delight to tourist and local alike in the summer months.

The news article explains that The Seahorse Trust intended to visit and capture the life cycle of the spiny seahorse on film this summer but in spite of their plans at the largest sea horse colony in the UK only one seahorse could be found.

In other parts of the world the seahorse is under specific attack as a medicinal treatment, a food, a decorative object and numbers are dwindling. The uk population seemed to have fewer threats of that kind but now it seems the local human behaviour is still taking it’s toll.

The article then descends into debate from various factions denying responsibility.

Meanwhile I’m shouting,

There’s only one left! Regardless of whose at fault. What are you going to do about it?

So hopeless.

One lone creature that has a small territory cannot reproduce.

If you think this is important watch out for seaside trinket shops selling shells and dried starfish and seahorses. All of these are harvested in negative ways. Tell the shop owner you don’t agree. Often they have no idea it’s an issue.

We were in bird sanctuary shop for the RSPB a couple of years ago and when we asked how they could sell shells with a clear conscience they promised to investigate.

Is there a species you are concerned about?

How should normal people help?

Joining an organisation like The Seahorse Trust can make a big difference.

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6 comments on “Last chance to see…. The Seahorse

  1. Frugal Hausfrau
    October 13, 2014

    Another fantastic post. I had a big discussion with my brother just the other day about the oceans, extinction of so many species, and just how much of the world depends of fish as the main source of their food. It’s chilling to me, how this trainwreck of humanity we are just keeps chugging along…until??

    The seahorse, though…momentarily, I teared up a bit. Because it’s not just England. And because they have always been such a fascination to me from the time I was a child. And because I’m afraid!

    I came across an article that rather horrified, not regarding Seahorses, but the passenger pigeon. Extinct since 1914. Not mentioned in the article is a historic newspaper I saw where a hunter bragged about killing the last known breading pair in the wild. Now, in our madness, scientists think they can re-eingineer them…without consequence. http://www.audubonmagazine.org/articles/birds/why-passenger-pigeon-went-extinct

    There really is no do-over!

    Like

    • lizard100
      October 13, 2014

      Thanks very much for taking so much trouble to comment. I knew about the passenger pigeon.
      The Atlantic cod has been fished to commercial extinction twenty years ago. In spite of a 15 year moratorium of fishing of this species recovery isn’t happening.

      Like

  2. Grower
    October 13, 2014

    That is so sad. They are such fascinating animals.

    Like

  3. Helen
    October 13, 2014

    I’ve always loved seahorses and am shocked to learn that they are at risk of extinction. No surprise though, unfortunately!

    Like

  4. Rambling Woods
    October 17, 2014

    I saw a program on them….so many creatures in trouble

    Like

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2014 by in conservation, environment, ocean and tagged .

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