tigersnout seahorse, Hippocampus subelongatus [87K]

This tigersnout seahorse is characterized by a high, fluted coronet with an expanded top. It has low rounded spines on the ring junctions, and prominent eye and pre-coronet spines. This species grows to about 20 cm (8 inches). Another common name is the West Australian seahorse. 

When threatened, it is common for a seahorse to assume a posture similar to this, with the head tucked down and the tail wrapped tightly around an object.

In nearly all seahorse species males and females develop long-term pair bonds, with one male behaving monogamously with a female. Research shows that in some species this bond is reinforced each morning with a daily mating ritual, which continue throughout the male pregnancy. White's seahorses (
H. whitei) have been observed conducting such a ritual, in which the male and female "dance" for several minutes. They change color and twirl with their tails anchored around a common object, and move along the bottom with their tails linked. After a few minutes they separate for the rest of the day. These pairs are faithful-- if one of the pair should die, it may take the remaining partner several weeks to select a replacement mate.

Hippocampus subelongatus

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