Today on Little Extras, we’re diving in deep to find out all about our favourite twirly-tailed sea creature – the sea horse! Once you've filled up on the facts, discover some JoJo seahorse clothing designs and print our fun, exclusive word search and colouring sheet for more seahorse-themed entertainment.
1. Although they couldn’t look more different to the standard Salmon or familiar Flounder, the seahorse is still classified as a fish.
2. We’ll give you one guess as to how they got their unusual name – did you get it? It's because their head looks similar to a horse's head! Take another look – can you see the similarity between their long noses?
3. There seems to be some dispute on this, but The Seahorse Trust claims there are 54 different species of seahorse, but we won’t name them all. They include: Bigbelly seahorse, Winged seahorse, Pygmy seahorse and Giraffe seahorse.
4. They live in the ocean, and prefer tropical coastal waters where it is warm, and they can swim among coral reefs and seaweed. However, there are a few species that live in the Mediterranean Sea and around Europe so you could be lucky enough to spot one yourself.
5. Unlike most swimming creatures, seahorses swim upright! They use their dorsal fin (back fin) to move forward, and when they want to move up or down, they adjust the volume of air in their ‘swim bladder’, which is a tiny pocket inside their belly. The more air, the lower they sink down and with less air they will float up.
6. They use their curly tail to grab on to weeds when they want to stop and will attach themselves to it by twisting their tail around the vegetation.
7. A baby seahorse is called a ‘fry’. Unlike any other species, the male seahorse gives birth to the babies instead of the mother. The male has a pouch on the front of his tail – quite like a kangaroo pouch - and the female transfers her eggs to this pouch for the male to self-fertilise.
8. The eggs can stay in this pouch for up to 45 days, until they are ready to hatch. Depending on the species, seahorses can give birth to 100-1000 fry at once.
9. Once hatched, the fry are left to fend for themselves. They float in groups, clinging to each other's tails for the first 2 to 3 weeks and doing their best to avoid any predators.
10. Seahorses have no teeth, so their food needs to be small enough to be sucked through their mouth and swallowed whole. They mostly eat plankton, small fish, and small crustaceans like shrimp.