Barbour's seahorse #3, close-up, H. barbouri [78K]

This close-up of a female Barbour's seahorse reveals the structure of the tube-like snout. As ambush predators, seahorses swallow their prey of small crustaceans, fish fry or other invertebrates with a motion that is almost too quick for the human eye to detect. Even young seahorses can eat hundreds of small prey in a feeding, swallowing victims whole, since they lack a stomach or teeth. Often an animal too large for the seahorse's mouth, such as a small fish, may be ripped apart by the strong suction. Soft pieces are ingested, as the more solid parts are discarded.

One characteristic of the Barbour's seahorse is the enlarged and curved spines on the first dorsal trunk ring (one of these spines is visible on left side of photo). The right pectoral fin is also shown
, just behind the gill opening.

Identification: Hippocampus barbouri

back to seahorse index page back to Gallery IV