Researchers Discover New Pygmy Seahorse in Japan
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.