Re­searchers Dis­cover New Pygmy Sea­horse in Ja­pan

Asian Diver (English) - - What Bubbled -

Re­searchers work­ing in Ja­pan have dis­cov­ered a new species of pygmy sea­horse that they have named

Hip­pocam­pus japa­pigu, or Ja­pan pig, be­cause lo­cals be­lieve the tiny sea­horse looks like a “tiny baby pig”.

Colour­ful and smaller than a fin­ger­nail, the new species has an el­e­vated ridge on its up­per back made of tri­an­gu­lar bones. At present, the re­searchers are un­aware of the ex­act pur­pose of these tri­an­gu­lar bones. Found in the wa­ters off the coast of south­east Ja­pan around the is­land of Kashiwa, Kii Penin­sula, Izu Penin­sula and the Oga­sawara Is­lands, the new pygmy sea­horse hides it­self well by cam­ou­flag­ing it­self against the corals and rocks it lives on. Gra­ham Short, an ichthy­ol­o­gist at the Cal­i­for­nia Acad­emy of Sciences, is the lead au­thor of the study, “Hip­pocam­pus japa­pigu, a new species of pygmy sea­horse from Ja­pan, with a re­descrip­tion of

H. pon­tohi (Teleostei, Syn­g­nathi­dae)” by Short, G., Smith, R., Mo­to­mura, H., Harasti, D., & Hamil­ton, H., pub­lished in ZooKeys 779: 27–49, 2018.

IMAGE: Hiroyuki Mo­to­mura (from Short et al. 2018)

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