How do seahorses hunt?
ASeahorses may appear lethargic, but are in fact ultimate stealth hunters, perfectly adapted to hunt fast-moving copepod crustaceans. They are slow swimmers and no match for their agile prey, so instead they adopt a sit-and-wait strategy. Typically found in sheltered, shallow waters, such as seagrass beds, they use their tails to anchor themselves to the vegetation and blend into their surroundings by employing special colour
changing cells known as chromatophores. When a copepod approaches, the seahorse will drift closer, undetected. Its elongated head minimises disturbance to the water, effectively rendering it silent. Once in range, it performs a rapid head rotation to snatch its prey, sucking it into its toothless mouth. This ambush technique works well for seahorses, which have a reduced stomach capacity and need to feed regularly.
Silent killer: a longsnouted seahorse clings to eelgrass using its tail, before sneakily drifting towards its prey.