| Ecological Descriptors
|S, Co, Man
Body vertically oriented, with a cocked head. Long snout trumpet-like with a small mouth - snout length equals or exceeds distance ftom eye to back of head. 2 small spines above eyes. Generally has no skin tabs/ fleshy projections. Body encased in protective bony rings. Tail base elongated and finless. The color varies greatly from yellow to reddish orange, brown or even black or two-toned. Head and body with small dark or white spots spots. White spots especially on tail.
11 raised rings around body abd 12 0n tail.
Males have a brood pouch extending ~1/4 the length of the tail's underside - more obvious when full of eggs.
Inhabit seagrass beds and reefs. Curl base of tail around holdfasts or, occasionally, float free. Depth range 0 - 55 m. Small individuals tend to be found in shallower water than large animals. It has been found on gorgonian corals, seagrass, mangroves and Sargassum. Hippocampus reidi are monogonously pair-bonded in the wild. Diet is primarily planton and small crustaceans (e.g. shrimps).
They lack both teeth and stomach and due to this inefficient system need to feed almost constantly, with small youngsters consuming up to 3,000 small shrimps, copepods etc daily.
Capture their small prey by a flick up of the cocked head and suck. This flick takes <1ms and the snout is hydrodynamically contoured to make no vibration/ wake in the water to alert the prey during this.
Ovoviviparous. Matures at ~8cm.
All seahorse species have vital parental care, and many species studied to date have high site fidelity.
Monogamous with at least within any given breeding period, as males would only accept eggs from one given female. Low fecundity due to lengthy periods of parental care. Mating rituals lasts for 25 minutes, beginning with a male and female moving parallel to each other around a shared holdfast, eventually they hold onto each other’s tails while swirling around, releasing tails and assume a face-to-face pointing (snouts elevated) position.
The ovipositor of the female is inserted into the male’s brood pouch where the eggs are deposited. The male and female separate immediately after the eggs have been deposited, and each individual would grasp a holdfast about 2m apart. The male rocks back and forth for a few minutes to presumably settle the eggs in his brood pouch. The average brood size of longsnout seahorse is between 1000-1500 eggs. The male carrying the eggs in a brood pouch under the tail for the 2 week gestation period. By the end of the gestation period, males vigorously force juveniles out of the brood pouch, a process that can last a few hours. Newly born individuals are approximately 7mm long.