Lynn has been traveling across South East Asia documenting and collecting data from different dive sites in the hope of finding the very hard to find seahorse (genus Hippocampus). Some of her goals while here in Asia were to find, not only where they live, but what environments they prefer to live in, how they are surviving, what are their threats and hopefully find a new species. Along with this Lynn has been promoting their conservation and making divers aware of these delicate creatures.
There are some 54 species of seahorse (genus Hippocampus).
Hippocampus comes from ancient greek HIPPO meaning horse and KAMPUS meaning sea monster.
Dried seahorses are heavily traded in the chinese alternative medicines markets and are to this date data deficient. This means the current seahorse population is unknown, so with the heavy harvesting of seahorses which is mainly through bycatch/trawlers we have a real risk of them becoming extinct.
Seahorses have very low rates of reproduction and usually mate for life, this then becomes another reason why if we do not conserve them and their habitats (coral reefs, mangroves), we could very easily decimate the surviving populations we have left.
In Pattaya, our dive sites and some of our specialist hidden dive sites proved to be a mecca for these beautiful creatures. The most common seahorse we found was a Hedgehog Seahorse (Hippocampus Spinosissimus) this seahorse is vunerable due to habitat loss, but I am glad to tell you that of all the sites Lynn visited in Pattaya turned up the most seahorses so far on her trip across Asia. Our other Seahorse you can find in Pattaya are Tigertail Seahorses (Hippocampus Comes).
Dive Tribe would like to point out that seahorses are very light sensitive and would ask all photographers to refrain from using strobe/flash lights to take pictures..Thanks Guys !!
Seahorse identification is another thing entirely.
Did you know they changed colour ?
Seahorses are essentially bony fish, they do not have scales but a skin which is stretched across bony plates, they range in size from 1.5cm to 35cm.
To swim they flutter their dorsal fin and use their pectoral fins at the side of their head to steer themselves, they are not great swimmers and prefer to wrap their tales around a structure to support themselves. Their eyes move independently and they have long snouts to suck up their food.
We would like to thank Dr Lynn for taking time to give us and our dive centres here in Pattaya the talk on seahorses and wish her well in her postdoctoral research.
Dive Tribe will continue to be committed to the conservation of seahorses and we would also like to thank the dive centers from Pattaya that have helped Lynn with the studies and supported us at this talk, these include: Adventure Divers Pattaya, Pattaya Dive Centre, Seafari Dive Centre Pattaya, Jomtien Dive Center & Bangkok Scuba Divers.
Special thanks to the researchers Dr Parichart Laksanawimol & Udomlert Koythong
Dive Tribe will be offering specialist courses on seahorses, if you would like to know more about working on seahorse conservation in Pattaya please contact us HERE and to learn more about seahorses please Click ”PROJECT SEAHORSE”