Partial fin-clipping as an effective tool for tissue sampling in seahorses, Hippocampus spp.
Partial fin-clipping is a non-lethal sampling technique commonly used to sample tissue for molecular genetic studies of fish. The effect of this technique was tested on seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) as they have several peculiar biological characteristics when compared with other fish and are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Partial fin-clipping of the seahorse dorsal fin was evaluated on Hippocampus kuda. The fish were assessed for short-term effects (fin re-growth time) as well as the longer term effects (growth and mortality) of partial fin clipping over a four month period.
Total fin re-growth occurred between 2 and 4 weeks with no significant difference observed in the fin re-growth time between sexes. There was no significant difference between the mortality rate/growth rate of clipped versus unclipped seahorses. Results indicate partial finclipping has no significant effect on seahorses, and should be considered as a useful method for tissue sampling.
Woodall, L.C., B. Zimmerman, R. Jones, P. Shaw, and H.J. Koldewey. 2012. Partial fin-clipping as an effective tool for tissue sampling in seahorses, Hippocampus spp. Journal of the Marine Biological Association. 92(6):1427-1432. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315411001810