Swim­ming with sea­horses

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

CHRIS BROWN, a ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist, made an un­usual dis­cov­ery dur­ing a dive in Wey­mouth Bay, Dorset, re­cently, when he came across a preg­nant male spiny sea­horse (it’s the males that carry the eggs, de­posit­ing them into the sea). Hip­pocam­pus histrix (right) is rarely found in Bri­tish wa­ters and this spec­i­men was un­usual for the fronds grow­ing from its breed pouch.

Neil Gar­rick-maid­ment of the Sea­horse Trust, who has been study­ing the cu­ri­ous crea­tures for 36 years, com­ments: ‘This dis­cov­ery is so valu­able be­cause it shows an­other site where sea­horses are. If we can find this one again, we can see where he gave birth, usu­ally on a full moon.’

Sea­horses are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly rare on the south coast, partly due to il­le­gal moor­ing and an­chor­ing. The trust has achieved a ban on ebay of sea­horses in Europe, Amer­ica and Aus­tralia—sales are banned in the Uk—and is work­ing with nat­u­ral-medicine prac­ti­tion­ers to stop us­ing them in treat­ments.

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