Seahorses are sea creature belonging to the genus Hippocampus of the family Syngnathidae. There are about 35 different species of seahorses spread all over the world in temperate and tropical coastal waters. They live in seaweed beds and are very slow swimmers.
Seahorses can consume thousands of brine shrimp and other tiny marine organisms each day. To hide from predators they grow long skin appendages so that they blend in better with the algae.
Characteristics: Seahorses vary in size from about a quarter of an inch to a foot; they have the profile of a horse’s face skeleton, and a tail that curls inward towards the belly and head. They also have these perfectly symmetrical little bone spikes sticking out that make them very difficult to eat. This toothless fish suck in and swallow their prey whole through their horse-like snouts.
How they Reproduce: One of the most fascinating facts about seahorses is that they are monogamous (one partner for life), which is both good and bad for the animal.
Some believe that long-term pair bonds enable seahorses to become efficient and effective baby-making teams. On the other hand, each pair only produces around 1,000 young per year, very low by fish reproductive standards, making it very challenging for populations to recover from such threats as over-fishing.
When mating the female seahorse (which makes 200-600 eggs) deposits her eggs in the male brood pouch and the male fertilizes them internally. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch (which takes around 3-6weeks), then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.
Predators: The natural predators that adult seahorses face are tuna, crabs, and rays. When storms hit the sea many seahorses die because they lose hold of whatever rock or coral they have wrapped their tail around.
Price / Cost: There are about 39 countries around the world now involved in the seahorse trade, most of them trading dried seahorses for traditional Chinese medicine.
The best quality seahorses used in traditional Chinese medicine are the smooth pale, large seahorses—now sell in Hong Kong for up to $550 U.S. per pound and the inferior and lower quality seahorses sells for about $100 a pound.
Preparation in Medicine: The seahorses are usually ground and mixed with herbs. Whole seahorses are made into soup.
Taste: Similar to dried scallops, but more salty and less complex.
- Sea Horse is a traditional Chinese remedy for kidney ailments, respiratory ailments, circulatory problems, joint pain, incontinence and impotence.
- Seahorse is good for the facial skin and a restorative detox/cleanser.