We present the first synthesis of the life history and ecology of seahorses, compare relationships for seahorses with other marine teleosts and identify research needs. Seahorses occurred primarily amidst temperate seagrasses and tropical coral reefs. Population densities were generally low, ranging from 0 to 0·51 individuals m−2, but reached 10 m−2 in some patches. Inferred life spans …
Seahorses are found all over the world, in nearly all shallow temperate and tropical waters of 130 countries, and even in the open ocean.
Seahorses are most likely to live in coastal waters shallower than 30 m depth but some have been found to at least 100 m deep.
The greatest number of species is found in the marine biodiversity hotspots of the central Indo-Pacific region. Globally, the predicted suitable area for seahorses was 9 million km2 (2.5% of the ocean’s surface).
They occur off six continents and many parts of the world’s ocean, as this list shows:
- Western Atlantic – from Nova Scotia in Canada to Patagonia in Argentina, and throughout the Caribbean Sea
- Eastern Atlantic – from the UK to Angola, and throughout the Mediterranean Sea
- Indian Ocean – from South Africa to Australia, throughout the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia
- Western Pacific – from South Korea to New Zealand and Tasmania in Australia, and some Pacific islands
- Eastern Pacific – from southern California in the USA to Chile
[Updated 10 June 2021]
[Updated 15 May 2023]