Black seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) is a wonderful creation of nature. In previous years this extraordinary creature could easily be seen in the coastal areas of the Crimean beaches of the South-Western part of the Black sea and the Kerch Strait, most of the Crimean coast. Exotic look of a sea horse was the cause of its almost complete disappearance, because only a very lazy Spa visitor didn’t take home a fun souvenir of the black sea. And the demand gave rise to increase the production of souvenir…
Now the status of a sea horse, by which he dwells in the red book of Ukraine – a vulnerable species. In 1980-90-ies were caught with hundreds of thousands of individuals skate, recreational areas almost disappeared, so in 1994 the black sea seahorse included in the Red book of Ukraine, its catch was forbidden.
If you look at mythology, we can see that the sea God Neptune rode in a chariot drawn by sea horses. “Horse” he was small in stature – not more than 30 centimeters, and the dwarf members of this genus have long, or tall, just 3 inches. The unusual body shape of this creature actually resembles a horse, but rather the figure of a horse from chess.
These beings known to man since ancient times. On the application of Marsciano as an effective medication wrote Pliny the Elder, pointing, for example, that to prevent hair loss it is necessary to “grease the head with a compound made from a mixture of dried seahorses, resin, maioranos oils and fats”. English magazine (Gentlemen’s Magazine) in 1754, advised nursing mothers to take extract of seahorses for the flow of milk. The French naturalist Guillaume the Rondel, the first who published a large work on sea fish, in his classification of enlisted skate like a cross between… insects and soofiani, i.e. coelenterates.
Seahorse belongs to the family needle. Scientists-ichthyologists call this creature a long name — “seahorse spinner the black sea”, sometimes adding “European”.
Seahorses can be found on the open seas or in the bays with salinity more than 12%. Most commonly they adhere to the depths of 5-7 meters, preferring sandy or rocky bottom with the obligatory presence of underwater vegetation. Skates choose places calm, strong current they do not like. Often can be transported during storms ripped from the bottom of the vegetation considerable distances. Kept alone or in small groups of 3-5 individuals.
The body of a horse covered with armor, with the typical extensive skin growths in the form of a hump and furrow. The shell is so strong that barely breaks even dead and dried-up skate. Numerous long spines and protuberances on the body perfectly mask the ridge among the plants and protect them from predators. The snout is elongated, tubular mouth. The tail is able to curl the ring, missing a tail fin. He used the animals for retention of the body among the thickets of sea grass. Head covered with small bony plates and is at right angles to the body (this is not observed in any sea-dweller). And the horse can move its head up and down — ability, which are deprived of almost all modern fish species.
The coloration of this species seahorses – brown with white spots.
He’s original form, not only the body, but the fact that eggs are hatching males… and the ability to camouflage and feeding.
During the breeding season bears offspring…a male. Caviar is in a special brood pouch pocket to two weeks. The edges of the egg pocket, after filling it with caviar (what do you do usually a few females), are overgrown, the inner wall of the impaled blood vessels, supplying the eggs with oxygen. This forms a brood chamber. The male fertilizes the eggs. The fertility of 5-6 cm females can range from 10 to 350 eggs, while those of old age 10-12 cm to 650 or more eggs. Usually spawns in the seahorse takes place in may-September. At this time skates EN masse approach the shore to depths of 2-4 m. Immediately after the birth of little skates must rise to the water surface and collect air in their swim bladders, so as not to die from suffocation.
All the skate love to eat, — at least five times a day. They are picky in food and require small animal foods – plankton, young fish. Skates hunting their prey from ambush, sucking crustaceans and juvenile fish with tubular stigmas that acts as a pump.
The eyes of the horse independently from each other looking in different directions, covering the sector nearly 300 degrees (like a chameleon). And, like the chameleon, the fish is able to quickly change the color of your body is grayish-brown, reddish to yellow, brownish green, etc.
Another interesting feature of the seahorse is its ability to swim vertically…. However, he’s a bad swimmer, it prefers a sedentary lifestyle. 90% of the time in ambushes and hiding, clinging to the grass blade flexible tail. But in a moment of danger seahorses can speed up the movement, flapping fins to 35-70 times/sec! During the voyage the fad makes the undulations of the tail and the body.
In the Black and Mediterranean seas seahorse can live for 4-5 years. At this age it reaches the length of 12-18 cm, but in recent years the maximum size of this amazing creature in the area of the South coast of Crimea, near Sevastopol and Evpatoria not exceed 13 cm with a weight up to 10 g.
In the European Red list, the International Red book to date listed 30 species of skates, nearly all of the species known to science. The number of black-sea seahorse is unknown.