The Sea-Horse (long snouted) (Hippocampus ramulosus) can grow to 15cm.
Typical sea-horse shape, which cannot be confused with the pipe fishes. The head is bent downwards from the erect body posture, and has a long prehensile tail that lacks the caudal fin. Camouflage maybe enhanced by individuals sporting differing lengths of appendages, running from the head down to the dorsal fin. This particular species of sea-horse is distinguished by having a straight snout that is more than a third of the head length. The dorsal fin is composed of 18 to 21 rays, although typically 19. It is the main source of propulsion for sea-horses and may beat up to 70 times a second. The anal fin is diminutive, and is to be found almost in line with the posterior end of the dorsal fin. The chameleon like eyes are able to move independently of each other, and are used to great effect to target prey. The overall body colouration, ranges from greenish yellow through to redish brown and often reflects the associated vegetation/substrate, and is speckled with bluish white spots and flecks.
This occurs during April through until October. Like other sea-horses, it is the males role to incubate the eggs inside the pouch located in the upper tail region. The juveniles are retained, and are not released until they have reached 15mm in size.
This is a summer visitor to northern European seas, and is normally to be found in inshore shallows, associated with sea-grasses such as eel-grass, and beds of seaweed/fine algae. The sea-horses maybe found attached to the plants by means of their prehensile tails, although obviously not fixed. On occasions they maybe washed into deeper waters, or encountered during their annual migrations.
Feeds mainly on very small crustaceans, which are snapped up by the sucking action of the snout, being coordinated by the independently moving eyes.
This visitor tends to be restricted to the southern and western coasts of the UK, although maybe encountered as far north as Scotland.
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