ASIA DIVE EXPO
(ADEX 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 SPEAKER),
Brian McDairmant & Lilian Koh
The thorny seahorse, also called the spiny seahorse, is native to the waters of the Indian Ocean, and west and central
Pacific Ocean. It is characterised by its long snout and its slim, elongated body, which is covered in dark-tipped spikes.
Its colour can vary from bright yellow to pale pink or green to match its surroundings and it has eyes which can move independently of each other. It feeds on small crustaceans, invertebrates or tiny young fish by waiting for prey to pass close by its mouth, then sucking them in with a quick intake of water. Like all seahorse species, the thorny seahorse faces the threat of habitat loss, pollution, and the effects of global warming. The high demand for the thorny seahorse in the aquarium industry and in traditional Chinese medicine has led to overfishing. It is also vulnerable as by-catch in shrimp fisheries, which trawl the seafloor indiscriminately. It is listed along with all seahorses on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is designed to restrict trade in these species but whose protections are notoriously difficult to enforce.
BELOW: The thorny seahorse is caught in targeted fisheries and as by-catch, both principal contributors to steadily falling numbers (ADEX VOO 2016 Macro Photo of the Year finalist – Seahorse) by: Lilian KohWHENJuly 2015WHEREManado, IndonesiaHOW Canon PowerShot G15, (f/8, 1/80s, ISO 80)