Mythical Creatures

What if we told you that there is an animal out there where the male actually carries, cares for and births the babies! Sounds crazy, I know… but it does exist. Male seahorses are heros! We have been hearing about sea horses right here in the waters off of Maui. They are not commonly seen but do inhabit near coastal areas. We finally went out to explore, I don’t know why I thought it would be a quick process in finding them, I guess because so many people told me just where to look. It took us about 30-40 minutes of holding our breaths and diving looking for a creature we thought was the size of a quarter…to our surprise when I found them they were more like the size of a dollar bill! These are known as Smooth Seahorses because they lack spines. Hippocampus kuda. 

IMG_0389.jpgIMG_0383.jpgThis one is the female, the one below is the male and he looks very large., possibly full of fertilized eggs. The gestation period is two to four weeks. The numbers actually being born are hard to distinguish in just one species because there are so few, but a males can have 100 to 200 young.IMG_0378.jpgYou can see the protruding belly here. The way they move in the water, they aren’t great swimmers, but they still flutter around with the surge. I still can not believe that such delicate creatures live in only 5 feet of water. It is a catch because you want signs up to not walk on the reef, but you don’t want everyone knowing that they are out there. When we were leaving there were people walking out on the reef with their reef walker shoes…I had to bite my tounge from yelling at them “There are seahorses out there please don’t walk on the reef!” Luckily seahorses are fast moving and can see people coming, we hope!IMG_0364.jpg

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