The Marine Discover Centre, located on campus at Newman College welcomes a new breeding pair of seahorses, namely, Keith and Coral.
Coral is the yellow seahorse, whilst Keith, like many male seahorses is the larger of the pair. Seahorse is the name given to 45 species of small marine fish in the genus Hippocampus. “Hippocampus” comes from the Ancient Greek hippokampos, itself from hippos meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”. Seahorse have many unique features. They don’t have teeth and feed by sucking microscopic marine creatures like plankton, small fish and crustaceans.
The male has a “pouch” just like a Kangaroo, except this pouch is designed to carry eggs (as many as 2000). So we will know if Keith and Coral have reproduced as Keith’s pouch will look quite bulbous. These eggs are layed in his pouch by the female after an elaborate and interconnected mating dance. Depending on the species, the male incubates the eggs in his pouch for around 15-25 days. Once the eggs have hatched he expels them from his pouch in a spectacular display. The babies or as they are called, ‘fry’ look like tiny seahorse and are left to the whim of the currents as they embark on their own life journey to find a mate.
We hope to see Keith and Coral produce some fry so we can continue a seahorse breeding program in the College aquarium.