Is Seahorse a Fish? Updated 2021

Is seahorse a fish?

People often ask “Are seahorses fish?” Because apparently they do not look like the traditional fishes. You may not know this and will probably get surprised by knowing that seahorses are in fact siblings or related to fishes like trout and tuna. The thing is if we look at the anatomy of fish and seahorse we will know they both have a lot of similarities.

Seahorse come under the class of bony fishes and their family is fishes having fused jaws. All seahorses have a common genus that is called Hippocampus, which is an amalgam of two Greek words meaning ‘horse’ and ‘sea monster’.

Why is seahorse a fish?

Only if a seahorse does not look like a fish does it not necessarily mean that they are not fish. Both fish and seahorses have similar physical and biological characteristics and behaviors. And, yes, seahorse is a fish.

Seahorses have 46 different species. However, currently scientists do not believe and correlate with this number. In the near future this number can increase or decrease depending upon the relative discoveries regarding this specific species.

Seahorses are wondrous creatures! Though they are fish, their heads are similar to horses, their tails look like monkeys and they also bear a pocket just like a kangaroo! They also have some properties similar to a Chameleon. Like Chameleons, seahorses can also move their eyeballs at 360 degrees and they can also shift their skin colors depending upon the temperature and their surroundings.

Seahorses are also capable of growing skin-like structures that are similar to seaweed. This helps them to hide better in the marine environment. Fishes have scales but they do not have scales instead they have skin.

Their skin is elastic and tight and it spreads evenly all over their bodies. Most often their skin gives a spiny appearance. The head consists of a group of these spines which are called ‘coronet’.

The easiest way to identify male seahorses from the females is the pouch. You may think that females will bear this pouch but that is not the case in them. Unlike mammals, male seahorses have this pouch for nurturing their young-ones.

Is seahorse considered a fish?

Most people believe that as seahorses do not have scales and they also do not bear fins, so they are not fish. But, they indeed fall in the category of fishes. Because both of them have very common traits.

Seahorses are surely one of the most amazing and wild creatures you can find in the wild. They have the potential to leave you in a jaw-opening situation if you look closely at their anatomy. Seahorses are found in both tropical and Mediterranean waters, and are present all over the globe.

Seahorses can grow upto the size of your foot and even more depending upon their species and habitat. There are almost 40 known species of seahorses to science. From their mysterious anatomy to their romantic behaviors there is a lot more to know about this incredible creature.

Like fishes they do use the technique of buoyancy to float in the water. They also utilise their gills for breathing which is also a similar breathing behaviour like fishes. They also have strong bony plates and that is why they come under the class of bony fishes.

As they have a very sturdy bony network, it makes them undigetable and that is why most of the fishes do not eat seahorses as their prey. Other than fishes they also have very few marine predators.

On the other hand humans are one of the greatest threats to  marine life.

Is seahorse a fish

Is seahorse a bony fish?

Yep! You got it right. Seahorses do belong to the class”bony fishes”. It means scientifically they belong to the class “Actinopterygii ”. This class also includes salmon and swordfish. The genus of the seahorse is” hippocampus”.

We measure the height of the seahorses from the edge of their curled up tail to the end of their heads. Depending on the type of the seahorse species they can grow minimum upto 30cm.

Is seahorse a mammal or a fish?

Seahorses can’t be mammals because they do not exhibit properties like mammals. There is a certain criteria to be a mammal or a fish. The seahorse have more similarities both anatomically and biologically with the fish.

Like fish they have gills and they use them for breathing. They also live in water which is also a trait similar to the fish. Seahorse also have a swim bladder like fishes through which they remain afloat in the water.

In addition, they also have caudal fins and a long tail like a snake or a monkey. Seahorses have marvelous eyesight and they can see through either of their eyes individually at an angle of 360 degrees. It explains they have the tendency to look both forward and backwards simultaneously.

Seahorses are very romantic and loyal. When they develop a relationship with a female that relationship lasts till their last breath. To endorse the between the male and female seahorse they perform courting, and this is the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning. During courting the female enters in the territory of male and as they come near to each other they shift their colors.

The male starts to swirl around the female and they both do the same, usually swirling around a marine object. This romantic display can last for an hour and more and the female goes back to her location/territory.

What type of fish is a seahorse?

Seahorses belong to the scientific family called “Syngnathidae”. This family contains all those creatures that have fused jaws. Seahorses are fishes and are much alike pipefishes. The Genus for the seahorse is ” Hippocampus” which is a Greek word and it means ” Sea-monster which is similar to a horse”.

The body of the seahorse is covered with spiny skin and it also has very sturdy and strong bones so usually it appears like they are wearing armor.

Seahorses also have the potential to grow skin-like structures on their bodies so that they can camouflage better in the marine environment, particularly among the seaweeds in which they are usually present.

Most seahorses bind their tail to the marine plants so that they do not like a separate creatures in the water and in this way they hide in the waters.

Seahorses grow upon the diet of fish larvae and marine plant diet called plankton. It explains that seahorses are omnivores. Their size ranges from 5cm to upto 36cm. They reproduce through “Ovoviviparous”, which means they give live births through eggs.

A seahorse is classified as lobe finned fish

A seahorse is a fish and there are almost 40 to 50 diverse species of the seahorses present in the world. They fall under the division of bony fishes. It is true that they are fishes but they do not have scales like fishes, they do near skin which is very tough and sturdy.

Their skin circles their bony armor like rings, the number of rings depends on the species of the seahorse. There are a bunch of spines present on the top of their heads. It is called “Coronet”, which is also unique for every seahorse species.

Seahorses also swim in an upward posture while fishes swim in an horizontal posture. Seahorses are not excellent at swimming that is why you will usually them resting with their tail tied to a certain marine plant or object

They have long pipe-like mouths which are efficient at sucking the food. They have the most effective eyesight and like a chameleon they can rotate their eyes in all directions. They can even look back and forward at the same time.

The diet of the seahorses include larvae, plankton, and crustaceans.

Is seahorse a fish 2

Is pipefish a seahorse?

Both pipefish and seahorses belong to the same family but they are not identical. It means that pipefish are not seahorses. However they do have characteristics similar to a seahorse.

Like Seahorses, pipefishes also have a thin, slumber body and a grasping tail. On the other hand seahorses do not have the caudal fins while pipe fishes do have the caudal fins.

Caudal fins are used for the locomotion by the pipefish.

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