Three fishes, including the minute Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus satomiae), were among the newly-described species voted to the “Top Ten” list, which is published annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University. Another nominee, Materpiscis attenboroughi, an extinct fish fossilized in the act of giving birth 380 million years ago, provided the oldest record of live birth among vertebrates (please see photo). The deep blue Chromis (Chromis abyssus), a gorgeous blue damselfish that thrives, in contrast to other family members, at depths of over 350 feet, is the third fish listed.
Tiny and Well-Camouflaged Seahorses (Seaponies?)
Measuring just 0.45 inches in height, Satomi’s pygmy seahorse (first collected, fittingly enough, by diver Satomi Onishi), lives off Derawan Island, Indonesia and northern Borneo, Malaysia.
Prior to its discovery, the title of smallest seahorse went to Bargibant’s seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) which, at 0.8 inches, now seems a giant! Bargibant’s seahorse bears an uncanny resemblance to the polyps of the gorgonian, or soft coral, upon which it lives (please see photo). In fact, the first specimens described (1970) had lived in a small aquarium, attached to a gorgonian, for several days before being discovered by a startled researcher.
“Standing” an impressive 0.9 inches in height, Florida’s dwarf seahorse is our smallest native species. Both it and the much larger Atlantic seahorse make fairly good choices for folks interested in keeping members of this fascinating but delicate family of fishes. Please see my article The Natural History and Care of Native Seahorses for more information.
If you are interested keeping many varieties of seahorses in the aquarium and discovering how they live in the wild, please check out my book Seahorses, A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual.
Please write in with your questions and comments. Thanks, until next time, Frank Indiviglio.
Hippocampus bargibanti image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Jnpet
Materpiscis attenboroughi image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Sularko