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The three most adorable new reef species this year

By Leonard Ho - Posted
Pygmy seahorses are disgustingly lovable. They're so tiny that, unlike other fishes, they only have room for a single gill opening (located on the back of their heads). Scientists have now described three new species of pint-sized Hippocampus from the Indo-Pacific.
The three most adorable new reef species this year

Left to right: Hippocampus pontohi, Hippocampus severnsi, Hippocampus satomiae

Three new species of pygmy seahorses are described in Zootaxa (open access).

Hippocampus pontohi has been observed on the coralline algae Halimeda, as well as on the hydroid Aglaephenia cupressina (Müller and Severns, pers. comm.).

In Indonesia, [Hippocampus severnsi] has been recorded in association with a yellow coloured bryozoan, Catenicella sp., on different kinds of hydrozoans including Lytocarpus phoeniceaAntennellopsis integerrima and Halicordyle disticha (Müller, perscomm.) as well as in sheltered spots on a reef wall in association with Halimeda (Brett, perscomm.). It is also recorded from fissures on current–swept walls where it will tend to occur on the side of the fissure that faces away from the current, but in all cases where there is some upward current (Müller, pers. comm.) and has been seen swimming over a fungiid coral (Hardt, pers. comm.). In Papua New Guinea it has been observed in a healthy reef passage with a regular current of up to two knots on a gorgonian of the genus Muricella at 12 m depth (Halstead, pers. comm.) and in Fiji it was found on gorgonian species, possibly Menella sp.?

Hippocampus satomiae congregates at night in groups of 3–5 individuals on small seafans.  During the day H. satomiae are difficult to find, even in areas where they are known to occur.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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