Lined Seahorses, Hippocampus Erectus, are now on exhibit in the Beyond Shells living gallery at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.
Lined Seahorses, as so many of the marine creatures that can be found in our backyard of Pine Island Sound, are truly fascinating.
The outer surface of their body is composed of bony plates, a long snout, and a prehensile tail. These tails act like an extra limb that allows the seahorse to grasp onto vegetation or other objects (even a Queen Conch, as pictured here) for extra support.
They use their elongated, toothless snout to create a vacuum that sucks up its food. Seahorses lack a true stomach, which means they must eat large amounts of food, typically tiny shrimp, to make up for their inefficient digestive system.
Fun Fact: Lined Seahorses have only one small fin on their back. This makes them poor swimmers, so they rely on their camouflage ability to hide from predators and conceal themselves from prey. They blend in so well that it is often difficult for scientists to find them for studies!