Source: GIPHY. (too many people forget to turn it back on!!) Seahorses do not have teeth; they suck in their food and swallow it whole. They use their tube-shaped noses to suck up small animals, and they have to eat almost constantly since food passes through their digestive systems so … Here are 11 facts that will forever change the way you think of seahorses. I know my male eats like crazy the first 5 minutes but then he picks a few more over then next 15 minutes. They will hunt and consume any of the 67,000 species of crustaceans that are small enough for them to catch and consume. For instance, you may be wondering what do seahorses eat, if they don’t have a stomach? The seahorses have a unique neck that is adapted to catching all the evasive preys. Seahorses are one of the only fish that swim in an upright position and are the slowest-swimming of all fishes. Seahorses feed on the tiny crustaceans, like copepods and shrimps, which crawl at the bottom of the ocean or the ones floating in the water. Instead, they rely upon their prehensile tails to keep them from being swept away. It needs to eat almost constantly because food quickly passes straight through its digestive system. Only a small handful of species are commonly seen in tropical and temperate waters of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Some of the frozen food which they enjoy includes planktons, krill, and grass shrimps. In places with extensive vegetation, they inspect their surroundings and even feed while swimming. Seahorses are generally considered to be an evolved form of pipefish. Thus their prey needs to be very small. What about captive seahorses? Seahorses feed on the tiny crustaceans, like copepods and shrimps, which crawl at the bottom of the ocean or the ones floating in the water. The numerous seahorse species range in size from 0.6 inches to 14 inches. They have bent necks, distinctive trunks, tails, and long-snouted heads. Less than 1% of them live long enough to become mature enough to mate themselves. Please do NOT turn your pump off before feeding. Find out the answer to the question what do seahorses eat here. Further complicating things is the fact that a seahorse has no stomach. Newly hatched baby brine shrimp is their main diet but it should also be complemented with copepods. Seahorses are popular in the aquarium trade, and there is currently a movement to raise seahorses in captivity to protect the wild population. Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. Please do NOT feed seahorses before going to sleep at night so that you can see what they eat and don’t!! This means that they can wait for prey to pass by their perch, rather than actively pursuing them—a task that is difficult given their very slow speed. Great point! These marine fishes don’t have teeth; therefore they tend to suck in their prey and swallow them. The seahorse is one of 54 different species of fish in the marine genus Hippocampus—a word that comes from the Greek word for "horse." 1. After they have swallowed the food, the hyoid apparatus, head, and jaw return to their original position. By Geoffrey Migiro on March 19 2019 in World Facts. Learn how male seahorses astound the animal world by bearing unborn young. The seahorses swim upright, and they propel themselves using their dorsal fins. Instead of actively hunting their prey, they just sit there and wait for slow, drifting foods to come to them. Since they don’t have teeth or even a stomach at all like other marine species do, the structure of a seahorse digestive system is also markedly unique. Young seahorses consume about 3,000 pieces of food daily. Even though they are bony fishes, seahorses do not have scales. While they are often fed frozen crustaceans, captive seahorses do better when feeding on live food. The hunt for prey is also aided by the seahorse's eyes, which have evolved to move independently, allowing them an easier search for prey. To compensate for its lack of swimming speed, a seahorse's neck is well adapted for catching prey. Therefore, you must train them by mixing live food with frozen food. Those that do live to the age of maturity have an average life span that covers from 4 to 6 years. Seahorses are notable for being the only species where the male seahorses become pregnant. Since they are slow swimmers, eating can be very challenging. An adult seahorse will eat 30 to 50 times per day, while baby seahorses eat 3,000 pieces of food per day. Although they can't swim as well as pipefish, The seahorse has the ability to stealthily reach out and strike their prey. In our aquariums, Wild Caught specimens often don't recognize many food items offer that are not from their natural environment. Seahorses are small marine fishes belonging to the genus Hippocampus. They use their pectoral fins for maneuvering. Thus their prey needs to be very small. Find out why these fish must eat constantly to stay alive. Primarily, seahorses feed on plankton, small fish and small crustaceans, such as shrimp and copepods. The way Seahorses like to hunt and graze is a direct reflection of the foods they love to eat. Seahorses do not have teeth; they suck in their food and swallow it whole. Seahorses don’t have caudal fins, and unlike other fishes, they have a well-defined and flexible neck. How Often Do The Seahorses Eat? Seahorses range in size—from as small as a pine nut to as large as a banana. Most seahorses love mysid shrimps, but others consume different types of invertebrates, planktons, and larval fishes. You’ll tend to find that, during the day, your Seahorses wrap their snake-like tails around various fixtures in your tank. What Do Dwarf Seahorses Eat? Once they are in close range, they can rotate their heads and bring their snouts close to the prey right before slurping them. During the expansive phase, they capture their prey by expanding their buccal cavity, lifting their heads and sucking them into their mouth. Their camouflage game is on point. (Although H. capensis is an exception and known to feed on dead food in the wild). With older dwarf seahorses, you can also feed adult-sized brine shrimp. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 In their wild state, most seahorses only eat live food. Seahorses ambush their prey by hovering silently nearby, attached to plants or corals and often camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. Their bony plates are covered by a thin skin. Make sure to share the video with your friends and family as well. Suddenly, the seahorse will tilt its head and slurp in its prey. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Types of Seahorses - List of Seahorse Species, Sea Dragon Facts: Diet, Habitat, Reproduction, Spectacular Facts About Sea Fans (Gorgonians), Lemon Shark Facts: Description, Behavior, Conservation, Prey Selection of Juvenile Seahorse Hippocampus Reidi, M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire, B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University. They range in size from tiny, 1/2-inch fish to nearly 14 inches in length. When they are in areas with small vegetative covers, the seahorses tend to sit and wait for the prey. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The young seahorses have to care for themselves when they are born. Primarily, seahorses feed on plankton, small fish and small crustaceans, such as shrimp and copepods. This movement results in a distinctive sound. Seahorses do not hold the same adaption in the sea, in fact they are very poor swimmers. Live wild- or captive-raised copepods (tiny crustaceans) and rotifers are a good food source that allows young seahorses to thrive in captivity.