An Oceans Abcdarium created by the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany


Alana Nastold

The pygmy seahorse is one of the smallest seahorses yet discovered. Its size varies from 1.4 – 2.4cm. Nine different species have been discovered so far, found mostly in Southeast Asia. Their preferred habitat are gorgonian corals, also known as sea fans. During one observation, they were recorded to remain on their host fan for periods between 3 and 40 weeks. Recent observations of pygmy seahorses in an aquarium have shown that their colorful camouflage differs from their parents’ coloration, and instead develops specifically to match their environment. The gif, based on an etching, demonstrates the pygmy seahorse’s most effective weapon: its camouflage. It shows a fan coral within which four pygmy seahorses are hidden, moving and floating around, blending in with the movement of the water. They seem to be observing the viewer from their hiding spot, waiting to be discovered.

Sources: Reijnen, B. T., S. E. van der Meij, L. P. van Ofwegen, “Fish, fans and hydroids: host species of pygmy seahorses”, Zookeys, vol. 103, (2011):1-26.

Shepherd, Bart, Matt Wandell and Richard Ross, “Mating, birth, larval development and settlement of Bargibant’s pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus bargibanti (Syngnathidae), in aquaria”, AACL Bioflux, vol. 10, issue 5, (2019).