Seahorses in Dorset

June 26th, 2008

There have been reports of a number of seahorses sighted during dives in Dorset. The Seahorses are of species Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus. Many of the seahorses present were pregnant.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

Hippocampus hippocampus, otherwise known as the short-snouted seahorse can reach about 15cm in length but has a short and fat body shape. It has a short snout, hence its name, that is less than one third of the length of its head. Hippocampus hippocampus has a spine above each eye and bony tubercles on its body that give the seahorse a rather knobbly appearance. Hippocampus hippocampus varies in colour from brown to orange, purple or black and is one of two main species of seahorse found in the UK.

Photo: Steve Trewhella

The long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, also called the spiny seahorse, grows to about 15cm in length. Like the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus), it has bony tubercles that give the body a knobbly appearance. This seahorse also has fleshy protuberances on the back of its neck which gives the appearance of a mane. Hippocampus guttulatus is green-yellow to reddish-brown in colour, often with bluish-white spots and flecks.

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