Giraffe Seahorse (hippocampus camelopardalis) Card by Julian Williams
There are about 54 species of Seahorses. These unusual fish have no stomachs and are always found amongst sea grasses where they have a constant supply of food. The â€œGiraffe Seahorseâ€ grows to about 10cms long and live amongst the along the shores of the Western Indian Ocean from Kenya to
All Seahorses have very complex and elaborate courtship rituals that go on for several days. The ritual starts with the partners swimming side by side learning to synchronize their movements and changing colour in unison. As the courtship progresses they perform what is called “the predawn dance” holding tails and wheeling around threads of weed on the sea bed. The final phase starts after the male has expanded an empty pouch and shown his partner that he is ready to look after her eggs. The two fish then let go of the seagrasses and drift nose to nose upwards into open water where the mother
finally puts her mature eggs into the males pounch. After the ritual is over they separate and sink back down to the seabed where the father cares for the eggs until they are ready to hatch and fend for themselves.