Hippocampus hippocampus, the short-snouted seahorse, in the UK
Our most recent featured iSeahorse observation is Hippocampus hippocampus, the short-snouted seahorse. Thank you to iSeahorse user Tamsyn Mann for this exclusive snapshot from the English coast.
With its wrinkly skin and sandy complexion, this fish looks a bit like E.T.! And it might as well be – while we share a planet with this species, they’re still alien to us. Despite the dedication of scientists, the short-snouted seahorse is listed as a Data Deficient species by the IUCN Red List.
However, the IUCN Red List categories refer to a species’ status on a global scale – often, regional assessments have been conducted on subsets of the population, even if their global situation is understudied. We don’t know how H. hippocampus is faring worldwide, but so far it’s been established that they are Near Threatened in the Mediterranean.
Elsewhere, their regional status is uncertain. While they appear to be in rapid decline in Portugal’s Ria Formosa Lagoon, in recent years H. hippocampus has been frequently sighted in the estuarine region of the Thames. In 2017, there were 6 seahorse sightings in the span of only 2 months – typically, only 1 or 2 are spotted in the Thames over the course of an entire year. However, some of those could have been long-snouted seahorses, aka H. guttulatus, the other seahorse species native to the waters surrounding Great Britain.
Both short-snouted seahorses and long-snouted seahorses are Data Deficient, but the IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish & Stickleback Specialist group is working alongside the Oceanário de Lisboa to fix this!
- Check out this link about the state of European seahorses
- Learn more about the Thames seahorse sightings
- Read through the IUCN Red List assessment for H. hippocampus