Short-snouted Seahorse

Hippocampus hippocampus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Fish and sharks
  3. Short-snouted Seahorse


Seahorses have been known to practice monogamy are thought to mate for life, and as such the loss of one partner can have detrimental effects on the other. They are the only species with a true reversed pregnancy where the female transfers the eggs to the male who self fertilises them. He then live-births the young in labour that can last for 12 hours. Its curled tail is prehensile and is used to anchor itself to grasses and weeds against the current. Its diet is mainly small shrimp and plankton.

How to identify

As the name suggests this seahorse has a short, upturned snout. The distinctive body with its head, angled to the curved body is finished with a curled, prehensile tail. Unlike other seahorses, the short-snout does not have a mane. The colour varies from light brown to mottled purple.

Where to find it

Along the south coast of England and Ireland.


When to find it

  • January

How can people help

Seahorses are now under threat of extinction due to the rise of domestication, the gift trade and their believed medicinal properties. You should never buy a seahorse as a pet as they cannot adapt after being taken from the sea and less than 1% of captured seahorses last longer than 6 weeks. It’s not just seahorses that are victims of retail trade: you should never buy any souvenirs that contain any dried sea creatures such as seahorses, starfish, coral or sea sponges as many of these are now endangered species. If you see any shops selling these report it to Another threat for seahorses is the medicinal trade. The Chinese traditional medicinal trade, for example, removes approximately 150 million wild seahorses from the oceans for use as powders and medicines for their believed ability to heal illness. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Short-snouted Seahorse
Latin name
Hippocampus hippocampus
Fish and sharks
Length: 15cm
Conservation status
The Hippocampus Hippocampus is currently unlisted on the IUCN Red List due to deficient data (DD), but was previously listed as Vunerable (VU).