BIOTIC Species Information for Hippocampus hippocampus
Researched byMarisa Sabatini & Susie Ballerstedt Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byNeil Garrick-Maidment
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandDistributed along the south coast of England, with substantial populations around the Channel Islands and Ireland (Garrick-Maidment & Jones, 2004).
Global distributionReported from the Netherlands, Belgium, the east Atlantic coast of Europe, Algeria, Italy, Malta and Greece.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeSublittoral to 77 m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationSeahorses are often found in water less than one metre deep. Most species of seahorse live at depths between 1-15 metres and as deep as 77 m when they move out into deeper waters over winter (Garrick-Maidment, 1998) but the depth varies throughout its range according to habitat (N. Garrick-Maidment, pers. comm.). In the Channel Islands, they are found in much deeper water because here they have a wide tidal range and deep gullies (N. Garrick-Maidment, pers. comm.). On the whole, Hippocampus hippocampus is found below 5 m whereas %Hippocampus guttulatus% is found in shallower depths (N. Garrick-Maidment, pers. comm.). They occupy only certain parts of seemingly suitable habitats, for example sticking to the edge of seagrass beds leaving large areas unoccupied. These microhabitats have not been investigated but is has been suggested that seahorses find more food in areas of good water exchange (Vincent, 1996). Habitat / substratum preferences may be seasonal and related to seasonal migration (N. Garrick-Maidment, pers. comm.).

Adults may disperse during short range migrations but most movement to new areas happens when adults are cast adrift by storms or carried away while grasping floating debris (Vincent, 1999). They can cope with strong tidal strength for varying periods of time (N. Garrick-Maidment, pers. comm.).

Substratum preferencesAlgae
Physiographic preferencesOffshore seabed
Strait / sound
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Ultra Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowWeak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityVariable (18-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Hayward et al., 1996, Froese & Pauly (ed.), 2004, Whitehead et al., 1986, Wheeler, 1969, Vincent, 1996, Garrick-Maidment & Jones, 2004, FishBase, 2000,
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