Barbour's seahorse

Hippocampus barbouri

One of the characteristic features of seahorses is their head, curved at the right angle to the body axis with a tubular mouth. The animals adopt an upright posture in the water. The tail is long, without a tail fin, but is designed for gripping so that the animals can anchor themselves in seaweed or on corals. Seahorses don't have scales. Protection is provided by the armor made of bone plates under the skin. The eyes, which the seahorse can move independently of each other like a chameleon, are another special feature.

Pregnant males 

Unusual with the seahorses is the males’ habit of taking over childcare. The female lays her eggs in a bloated brood pouch on the male's abdomen. What follows is a form of male pregnancy. The eggs, fertilized in the brood pouch, are surrounded by spongy tissue. Salt content is regulated in the pouch and the eggs are supplied with oxygen and nutrients. Once the development of young seahorses is complete, they are virtually "born" by contractions of the brood pouch.

Closest relativesSygnathidae, pipefish
HabitatSea grass meadows and coral reefs up to 12 meters deep
Behaviourmonogamous couple
Dietsmall crabs and prawns
Body length11 to 15 cm
Spawnup to 250 eggs, female lays eggs in the brood pouch of the male; the young hatch after 12 to 14 days
UseFishkeeping, souvenirs, remedies in Asian medicine
Current statusdecreasing
At Zurich Zoo since2017


Verbreitungskarte Barbours Seepferdchen


V. Fischbacher, Arni AG
M. Urban, Ganterschwil
N.-G. Mehli, Chur
Sophie K., Winterthur
A. Magyar, Volketswil
Q. Krebs, Uster