Hippocampus hippocampus

Habitat & Distribution

This species is found in shallow muddy waters in estuaries or inshore amongst algae or Eelgrass Zostera spp. but may go deeper in the winter. They are distributed along the south coast of England from Cornwall to Suffolk and Norfolk on the east coast. Good populations have been found in the Channel Islands and on the coasts of Ireland. This species seems to be somewhat scarcer in Cornwall than the Spiny Seahorse, with only four records to date on the ERICA (2008) database. In 2004 two specimens were found in the Port Isaac area on the north coast, one of these was a juvenile which may suggest that breeding is occurring. This species' preference for shallow water habitats makes it highly vulnerable to degradation of the habitat by human activities. At some sites boat anchorage is a cause for concern.

Conservation

This species is protected under Appendix II of CITES, App.III of the Bern Convention, Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) from 2008 and is also on the UK and OSPAR Lists of Priority Species.