As we all already know, ADEX 2016 will be dedicated to seahorses. Here are four things you need to know about these unique and tiny creatures of the sea:
What are Seahorses?
There are over 40 species of seahorses. The scientific name for seahorses is “Hippocampus” which was derived from two separate Greek words, “Hippo” meaning horse and “Kampus” meaning sea monster. Although seahorses have large “horse-like” snouts that point downwards and differ in appearance from the common looking fish, seahorses are actually a type fish; they live in water, possess swim bladders and breathe through gills.
Seahorses come in various sizes; for the smallest species, the height of an adult seahorse is only slightly longer than 1 centimetre – about the length of your finger nail! For larger species, they can grow up to 20 centimetres tall.
Seahorses feed mainly on small crustacean such as mysid shrimps, which can be found crawling on the sea bed, they have also been seen feeding on small invertebrates floating in the water. Their snout acts as a vacuum which siphons prey directly into their digestive system without chewing. Adult seahorses consume around 40 pieces of food a day; from plankton to small crustaceans.
Lacking in manoeuvrability, seahorses are vulnerable to many types predators which include larger fishes, stingrays and even birds (such as penguins) that dive down into the sea for food. To avoid being eaten, seahorses are experts at camouflage. They are able to change their colours very quickly to blend into their surroundings, making it difficult for predators to detect them.
Under the sea can be a harsh place to live in, their curvy hook like tails help them cling onto coral, seaweed and grass preventing them washing away in heavy currents.
Sadly, humans pose the largest threat to seahorses. Over a hundred million seahorses are deliberately captured each year and dried to be used in the traditional Chinese medicinal trade or made into crafts and jewellery to be sold as souvenirs.
We dedicate ADEX 2016 to the seahorse, spreading awareness of these beautiful marine creatures, and aim to preserve and protect their habitat.
For more information on ADEX, please visit www.adex.asia.