We could not resist sharing this delightful video of pigmy seahorses with you. They are tiny and are so effective at blending into their surroundings that they have remained largely undetected.
Able to Hide from Predators and Researchers
The first was only discovered in 1969 and that was purely by accident when a scientist in New Caledonia was examining a sea fan and discovered two tiny, nearly invisible seahorses. That species was Hippocampus Bargibant and it lives exclusively on sea fans. Specifically, only the Muricella gorgonian and a seahorse will remain with that single sea fan its’ entire life. Its’ color will vary allowing it to match that of its’ host, avoiding predators by remaining perfectly camouflaged.
Since 2000, six additional species have been identified living on soft corals or in seagrasses and algae. They are found in the Coral Triangle area of Southeast Asia. The Bargibant’s pygmy seahorse has the greatest range from the Philippines, north to southern Japan, eastward as far as Fiji and south to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The pigmy seahorses are the world’s smallest seahorse species growing to no longer than 2 centimeters from the tip of their tiny tail to the tip of their tiny snout. And they appear even smaller when swimming. They differ from their larger cousins by having a single gill opening on their back rather than two on their sides.
Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences have now successfully bred them in captivity allowing them to study the seahorses’ amazing act of camouflage up close.