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Data Deficient (DD)

Comprehensive Description

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The dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae , is a small seahorse common to Florida seagrass flats. It is variable in color, often tan and unpatterned, but individuals can also range in color from green to nearly black. The snout is long relative to body size and the coronet (head projection) is high and knob-like. The dorsal fin has 11-13 fin rays and a dark submarginal stripe that may aid in identification. Body ring counts reveal 10-14 trunk rings and 31-33 tail rings (Hoese and Moore 1977, Robins et al. 1986).Males and females are sexually dimorphic. Scrutiny reveals the presence of a marsupium (brood pouch) in males, evident by around 16-20 mm as an elevated ventral ridge around the height of the top few caudal segments (Strawn 1958). The marsupium is highly vascularized, representing an extreme specialization for paternal care (Masonjones and Lewis 1996).

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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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