Well now that’s a horse of a different color! Yup, it’s a Lined sea horse (Hippocampus erectus).
Sea horses are actually specialized fish that are poor swimmers so they camouflage themselves in sea grasses or mangroves by wrapping their tail around a plant to keep still and waiting to ambush prey. When prey is found, the sea horses use their short toothless snout to suck the prey in. Lined sea horses can grow to over 7 inches long, have white lines or dots and can be a variety of colors from yellow to orange, red, black or brown. They can be found in waters 2- 230 feet deep from Cape Cod to Bermuda and all the way to South America.
Unfortunately, these unique creatures are listed on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species due to habitat degradation from coastal development, water pollution, harvesting for use in the curio trade and use in Traditional Asian Medicine. Check out our Lined sea horses in their jewel exhibit in our Aquarium during your next visit!