Any of about 24 species (family Syngnathidae) of fishes that usually live along warm seashores, clinging to plants with their forward-curled, prehensile tail. Species range from 1.5 to 12 in. (4–30 cm) long. Sea horses have bony rings instead of scales, and their eyes can move independently. They swim upright, propelling themselves horizontally with their fins and vertically with their swim bladder. They catch small organisms by sucking them quickly into their small mouths. The female deposits her eggs into a brood pouch beneath the male's tail, and the male expels the newly hatched young.
Sea horse (Hippocampus erectus).—Des Bartlett/Bruce Coleman Ltd.
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