The seahorse is a fish found in shallow, tropical waters. It is the only animal in the world in which the males bear unborn babies. An adult can grow up to 14 inches in length, and the animals live in groups called herds. The seahorse is a carnivore and has a specific diet and eating habits due to its physical features.
The seahorse has no teeth or stomach. The food it eats passes through its digestive system very quickly. This means it must constantly eat to stay alive. It isn't a strong swimmer so it can't catch its prey. Instead, it gets into an eating position by wrapping its tail around sea grasses and coral. It then uses its elongated snout like a vacuum and sucks in food that floats by. Baby seahorses can feed up to 10 hours a day.
The seahorse lives on crustaceans. Its main food source is brine shrimp. A young seahorse can eat up to 3,600 brine shrimp a day. Other crustaceans it eats includes caridean shrimp, mysid shrimp, amphipods and peracarids. Amphipods tend to be eaten most in spring and summer. The crustaceans are swallowed whole or are dissolved in the snout as they're sucked up.
Seahorses also supplement their diet with plankton. Other foods include larval fish, copepods, side swimmers and bottom-dwelling invertebrates.
Pet Seahorse Diet
A pet seahorse that has been captured in the wild will need a diet of live food. If the seahorse has been born in captivity, it can adapt to eating frozen food. Brine shrimp is an important part of any pet seahorse's diet. Other live food can include rotifers, ghost shrimps, isopods, cleaner shrimp larvae and livebearer fry. Frozen food can be krill, daphnia and enriched brine shrimp. The animal is a slow feeder so if it's in a tank with aggressive feeders it may starve. Owners should make sure their seahorse has enough food.
- National Geographic: Seahorse
- Animal Diversity Web; Hippocampus Erectus; Nick Gardiner
- New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research: Natural Diet of the Seahorse Hippocampus Abdominalis; C.M.C. Woods; Sept. 2002
- The Seahorse Trust: Seahorse Facts
- AnimalAmigo.com: What Does a Seahorse Eat?
- Seahorse.org; Seahorse Foods and Feeding; Tamara Weiss
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Buy Seahorses
Seahorses can be a great addition to any aquarium. However, they are very delicate and require some knowledge about their care. There...
How to Catch a Seahorse
Public aquariums display seahorses for education, but seahorses are difficult to keep and aren't recommended as pets. There's thirty-five known seahorse species...
How to Make a Fish Feeder
Feeding your fish can be a time-consuming ordeal. As fish require the same amount of food at the same time every day...
What Eats Seahorses?
Seahorses are among the most unusual animals to inhabit the marine ecosystem. They are a type of fish but swim upright rather...
Foods That Speed Up the Digestive System
The body's digestive system settles into its own pace when metabolizing daily food intakes. The types of food and the amount of...
What Does a Zebra Look Like?
Zebras are horse-like creatures that have black and white vertical stripes along their bodies, which act as a visual camouflage from predators....