Overview

Comprehensive Description

Hippocampus algiricus ZBK Kaup, 1856

CAS 21441 (1 specimen) Príncipe , mouth of a creek flowing into Praia Rei, Bahia das Agulhas. UFES 154 (4 specimens) Lagoa Azul. Afonso et al. (1999) used the synonym H. punctulatus ZBK Guichenot, 1853. A color photo of an animal from SãoTomé was printed in Debelius (1998) and in Kuiter (2000) under the synonym H . deanei ZBK Duméril , 1857. According to Lourie et al. (2004), the habitat is unknown. The NGS expedition found this to be a common species in shallow water (from 1 m depth down to at least 25 m depth), frequently clinging to large sponges.

  • Peter Wirtz, Carlos Eduardo L. Ferreira, Sergio R. Floeter, Ronald Fricke, Joao Luiz Gasparini, Tomio Iwamoto, Luiz Rocha, Claudio L. S. Sampaio, Ulrich K. Schliewen (2007): Coastal Fishes of Sao Tome and Principe islands, Gulf of Guinea (Eastern Atlantic Ocean) - an update. Zootaxa 1523, 1-48: 7-7, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:2202520B-A3E7-492D-A932-14463CD6DAF9
Public Domain

MagnoliaPress via Plazi

Source: Plazi.org

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Biology

Length type refers to height (= TL - head length). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch which is found under the tail (Ref. 205).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in the Eastern Central Atlantic ocean off the coast of West Africa, from Senegal to Angola (Alfonso et al. 1999, Lourie et al. 2004, Mamonekene et al. 2006). The type specimen was located off the coast of Algeria in the 1850s (Kaup 1856), but subsequent research and a lack of any additional specimens from this well-monitored area indicates this sourcing is likely an error. Pending further evidence, the range is considered to exclude North Africa or the Mediterranean.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Eastern Central Atlantic: Senegal to Angola. International trade is monitored through a licensing system (CITES II, since 5.15.04) and a minimum size of 10 cm applies.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Eastern Atlantic and southwestern Mediterranean Sea.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© FishWise Professional

Source: FishWise Professional

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 1718
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Maximum size: 192 mm OT
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© FishWise Professional

Source: FishWise Professional

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Max. size

19.2 cm OT (male/unsexed; (Ref. 30915))
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Description: (based on 18 specimens): Adult height: 9.0-19.2 cm. Rings: 11 + 36 (35-37). Snout length: 2.4 (2.1-2.6) in head length. Dorsal fin rays: 17-18 covering 2+1 rings. Pectoral fin rays: 16-17. Coronet: relatively low, rounded and overhanging at the back, flat-topped or with a slight depression. Spines: low, rounded bumps only. Other distinctive characters: body rings quite chunky; broad or almost double eye and cheek spines. Color pattern: may be covered with tiny white dots or larger brown spots.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The habitat and life history of Hippocampus algiricus are mostly unknown (Lourie et al. 2004), but this species has been found clinging to large sponges (Wirtz et al. 2007). Like all seahorses, the females transfer eggs to the male’s brood pouch (Breder and Rosen 1966). All seahorse species also have vital parental care, and many species studied to date have high site fidelity (e.g., Perante et al. 2002), highly structured social behaviour (e.g., Vincent and Sadler 1995), and relatively sparse distributions (Lourie et al. 1999).

This species is usually found in the shallow photic zone up tto a depth of 25 m (Wirtz et al. 2007). Size at maturity is roughly 9 cm with a maximum size recorded for the species of 19 cm (Lourie et al. 2004, Foster and Vincent 2005).

Systems
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Environment

demersal; non-migratory; marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Male carries the eggs in a brood pouch (Ref. 205).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hippocampus algiricus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A2cd+4cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
Czembor, C.A.

Reviewer/s
Vincent, A., Woodall, L. & Correia, M.

Contributor/s
Wiswedel, S. & West, K.

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable (A2cd+4cd) because of suspected population declines of at least 30% in the past and continuing into the future. There are no population monitoring data, but evidence suggests that continued habitat degradation and levels of exploitation have lead to declines in the past and that these declines will continue into the future. Heavy trade has been recorded since as early as 1996 (Vincent et al. 2011b) giving evidence that declines in this species have been occurring for at least 15 years. Harvest and trade appears to have accelerated in recent years (Evanson et al. 2011) and it is believed that trade will continue into the future.

There is a history of coastal marine pollution and development throughout this species’ entire range along the West African coast from the early 1980's onwards (Portmann, 1989), which previous studies have indicated can adversely affect seahorse populations (see Vincent et al. 2011a for a review). In addition, trawling occurs throughout the range of H. algiricus, along the coast of West Africa (Kristjonsson 1968, Blaber et al. 2000, FAO 2001); and it is known that trawling causes substantial seahorse by-catch and mortality (Baum et al. 2003, McPherson and Vincent 2004, Giles et al. 2006, Perry et al. 2010). Fishing pressure from artisanal fishers has also increased dramatically in recent years, which is putting heavy pressures on local seahorse populations (K. West pers. comm. 2012).

Furthermore, the international trade in this species is substantial. Heavy trade has been recorded since as early as 1996 (Vincent et al. 2011b) and since the listing of the species on CITES Appendix II, there has been documented trade of approximately 700,000 individuals, on average, per year between 2004 and 2008 (Evanson et al. 2011). This documented trade has continued through to the latest trade records on the CITES Trade Database (UNEP-WCMC 2012). It is suspected that trade of this volume has likely resulted in past population declines and will lead to further reductions of H. algiricus populations as trading pressure increases.

History
  • 2002
    Data Deficient
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species is known primarily from museum specimens (e.g., Wirtz et al. 2007) and information from population monitoring is unavailable. However, population declines are suspected as a result of habitat degradation and coastal development (Portmann 1989), mortality from intense trawling bycatch (Baum et al. 2003, McPherson and Vincent 2004, Giles et al. 2006, Perry et al. 2010), which occurs throughout this species’ range (Kristjonsson 1968, Portmann, 1989, FAO 2001), and large volumes of documented international trade (Evanson et al. 2011, UNEP-WCMC 2011).

Population declines due to the pressures from international trade have been acting on this species in West Africa for well over 15 years and are expected to continue into the future. Hippocampus algiricus has also been selected by the CITES Animals Committee for the Review of Significant Trade following COP15 (CITES 2012).

Population Trend
Unknown
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
The international trade of dried, wild seahorses is large (Evanson et al. 2011, UNEP–WCMC 2012) and potentially increasing, and is a likely threat to H. algiricus populations (Vincent 1996, Vincent et al. 2011a). This threat has been recorded from as early as 1996 (Vincent et al. 2011b) all the way up until 2010 (UNEP–WCMC 2012) and it likely to continue into the future.

Habitat degradation along the coast is also a concern for this shallow-intertidal species. There is a history of marine contamination from heavy metals, pesticides, oil, and human wastes, as well as coastal development and intensive fishing (Portmann 1989), which may affect populations of H. algiricus.

Shrimp trawling, with high levels of by-catch and ever-increasing demand, occurs extensively along the coast of West Africa in the same habitats as H. algiricus (Kristjonsson 1968, Blaber et al. 2000, FAO 2001). It is known that trawling catches large numbers of seahorses as bycatch when populations of seahorses are present in trawling areas (Baum et al. 2003, McPherson and Vincent 2004, Giles et al. 2006, Perry et al. 2010). It is expected that bycatch of H. algiricus occurs in West Africa, to the detriment of these populations. Fishing pressure from artisanal fishers has also increased dramatically in recent years and this, coupled with little enforcement of minimum mesh sizes for shrimp trawling in countries such as Guinea, is putting heavy pressures on local seahorse populations (K.West pers. comm. 2012).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Vulnerable (VU) (A2cd+4cd)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The trade in this species is regulated through CITES Appendix II.

Hippocampus algiricus may occur in the Bijagos Archipelago Biosphere Reserve in Guinea-Bissau (within the species’ suspected range, Agardy 1999).

Research into the phylogeny of this species is extensive (Casey et al. 2004, Teske et al. 2004, Teske et al. 2007, Floeter et al. 2008, Sanders et al. 2008, Woodall et al. 2009).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

West African seahorse

The West African seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus) is a species of fish in the Syngnathidae family (Seahorses and pipefish). It is found in the Atlantic Ocean off Algeria, Angola, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.[1]

It was first videotaped in 2012. The video is part of a joint investigation between Project Seahorse, Imperial College London, and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) into West Africa’s burgeoning seahorse trade. The number of seahorses exported, primarily to China for traditional medicine, has risen sharply in the last few years to about 600,000 seahorses annually. Meanwhile, scientists know virtually nothing about their numbers, habitat, or life cycle.[2]

The efforts of Project Seahorse, directed by Dr. Amanda Vincent, resulted in the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) adopting international trade controls for seahorses in 2002.[2]

References

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!