Category Archives: Seahorses

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Boxing Clever: Engineers Draw Inspiration From Bulletproof Boxfish

Publishing their findings in the July 27 issue of the journal Acta Materialia, engineers at the University of California, San Diego have described how the body of the boxfish Lactoria cornuta could serve as inspiration for improved armour, robots and even flexible electronics. The boxfish joins other reef organisms such as seahorses and stomatopods being studied for such purposes. Drawing its strength from hexagon-shaped scales and the connections between them (similar to the connections in a baby’s skull) the boxfish’s body features a unique construction in which each scale, or scute, has a raised, star-like structure in the centre that distributes stress across the entire surface. In addition, there is an underlying, flexible layer of interlocking collagen fibre which is difficult to penetrate. In combination, this means that even if a predator managed to generate a crack in the outer layer, the collagen fibres would help to prevent the structure from failing. “These damage-resisting structures have evolved for millions of years in nature and are being studied with support of the U.S.

Seahorse-Inspired Engineering

3-D printed seahorse tailA team of engineers at Clemson University, led by Michael M. Porter, have created a 3-D printed model of a seahorse’s tail in the hopes of finding out if the tail’s unique shape – an organization of square prisms surrounded by bony plates that are connected by joints – has a functional advantage over the cylindrical tails that most animals possess. After the scientists created 3-D models of a square prism and a cylindrical tail, they whacked the models with a rubber mallet and twisted and bent them. The findings?  The square was stiffer and more resilient when crushed, and was half as able to twist, a feature which could help prevent damage and supply greater control.… More:

Mystery Circles on Seahorse Solved? Watch out for the Asterina Stars

Asterina seastar on glass. Photo by Vishal BhaveCC BY-NC-SA When are spots on a seahorse not spots? When they’re starfish bites. Recently, a fellow seahorse keeper Adrienne Smith asked about some unusual markings on her seahorses.

Frozen Mysis Part 2: The Science Behind the Food

Young H. erectus at mysis feeding table. Photo by Louise Hines In Frozen Mysis Part 1: The Quest For Quality Mysis, we took a look at how to best select quality mysis for our seahorses, and what to avoid. In this long overdue part two, we’re going to take a look at why being picky about our frozen food matters. Just What Does Freezing Do

Beautiful New Species of Weedy Sea Dragon Discovered

Photo by Josefin Stiller , Nerida G. Wilson , Greg W. Rouse. CC by 4.0.

Photo by Josefin Stiller , Nerida G. Wilson , Greg W. Rouse. CC by 4.0.

 Syngnathid fish fans have a new species to fawn over, according to a recent article in Scientific American Magazine. Until now, only two species of seadragon were known, the leafy and weedy seadragons. No new seadragon species has been discovered in 150 years. This newest addition to the small group, the aptly-named ruby seadragon, was uncovered by a trawler during a routine biodiversity survey by the University of Western Australia’s Marine Futures project in 2007. It was a happy surprise indeed. It is not only a very strange and attractive animal, but is decidedly quite… More:

Weedy Seadragons Available to Hobbyists

reefs.comSeadragonColdwater Marine Aquatics is bringing in captive raised weedy seadragons (Phyllipteryx taeniolatus) available to the masses. For me this news is akin to the first time I heard Borbonius anthias coming into the industry after drooling over their pictures for years. I had the pleasure of meeting the C.M.A. crew at MACNA Denver last year. I can tell you that these guys are incredibly knowledgeable regarding their niche in the industry, seemingly offering only the healthiest animals all around. I asked C.M.A. regarding the rearing technique and they replied with, “Berried adult males are collected annually and the young are hatched out and raised in captivity.”… More:

How To Pick Your First Seahorse: 12 Common Seahorse Species Explored

Any number of species of seahorses can be suitable for the right aquarium. Left to right: Hippocampus erectus, Hippocampus barbouri, Hippocampus reidi I’m often asked which species of seahorse aquarists should get for their first aquarium. This question may sound simple enough, but different species behave differently and have varying levels of care required. I’ve put together a list of the most commonly available species, their difficulty level and some additional notes.

Marine Fish Compatibility Concerns You Might Not Have Considered

Fish swimming overhead can make jawfish quite nervousWhen we think of compatibility problems between marine fish, what usually comes to mind is one specimen behaving outright aggressively toward another with the underlying motive of establishing territorial dominance or acquiring a meal. But sometimes incompatibility among fish has less to do with overt aggression or hungriness than, shall we say, differing “piscinalities.” Here are a few examples to illustrate my point: Is that a predator overhead? In some cases, pelagic fish can keep bottom-dwelling tankmates in a perpetual state of anxiety despite having no interest whatsoever in their doings. I’ve observed this in jawfish that share a tank with larger, open-swimming species that present no real threat to them, such as tangs and plankton-feeding triggers (e.g., Xanthichthys spp.). In this circumstance, a jawfish will tend to remain perpetually concealed in its burrow—with maybe just its eyes and mouth visible—rather than emerge and hover over it. And who can blame the jawfish? For burrowing species, danger usually comes from above, and they have to decided in a fraction of a second—based on the suspect’s body shape and movement—whether something passing overhead poses a threat or not

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