This elegant Big-belly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) has the distinctive large brood pouch which gives this species its “big belly”. This lovely photo was captured by iNaturalist user imogen3184 off the coast of Melbourne, Australia and is our featured iSeahorse observation.
Big bellies range from black to yellow and often have dark markings. They are the largest seahorse species, growing up to 35 centimeters long. They are commonly found on rocky reefs and seagrass beds in the shallow waters of Southeast Australia. They are ambush predators, feeding on small crustaceans such as zooplankton and tiny shellfish at night.
The biggest threat to seahorses comes from bottom trawling. This indiscriminate fishing gear involves dragging a large and heavily weighted net along the ocean floor, catching all marine life in its path while destroying habitats.