Seahorses in El Nido: Habitats and Adaptations
Encounter seahorses in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. These enchanting creatures thrive in warm, shallow waters among coral reefs, seaweeds, and mangroves. For optimal sightings in Bacuit Bay, embark on night dives, especially at Nat Nat, a prime seahorse location.
- Genus: Hippocampus
- Depth: 1 to 30m
- Diet: Carnivorous
- Size: 15mm (pygmy) to 360mm
- Name: Derived from Ancient Greek “Hippos” meaning “horse” and “Kampos” meaning “sea monster”
Seahorses in El Nido: Unique Traits and Behavior
Seahorses sport ring bones and a horse-like head, defining their singular appearance. With 54 species, variations exist in ring bone count, shape, and color. While some boast vibrant hues, others blend into the reef. Their flexible necks and vertical swimming distinguish them from pipefish, close relatives. Their diet includes shrimps, crustaceans, invertebrates, and larvae.
Remarkably, seahorses are devoted partners for life. Males carry female-given eggs for 9 to 45 days. Sadly, only 0.5% of the 1500 eggs reach adulthood.
Seahorses at Risk: Facing Challenges
Spotting seahorses grows rarer due to their impending extinction. Demand in Chinese medicine, souvenirs, and even cuisine escalates risks. Habitat degradation, evident in deteriorating coral reefs and seaweed, exacerbates their vulnerability.