Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Length type is height (=TL - head length). Found in seagrass beds. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch which is found under the tail (Ref. 205).
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Distribution

Range Description

Known from the eastern Indian Ocean around East Africa and Madagascar. Genetic research suggests that this species may be part of the kuda complex (S. Casey, in litt. in Lourie et al. 1999). Further research is required.
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Western Indian Ocean: Mauritius, Reunion, and east coast of southern Africa. Conservation status: vulnerable (Ref. 30915). International trade is monitored through a licensing system (CITES II, since 5.15.04) and a minimum size of 10 cm applies.
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Western Indian Ocean: East Africa, South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar and Réunion (western Mascarenes) east to Maldives.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 1618
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Size

Maximum size: 140 mm OT
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Max. size

14.0 cm OT (male/unsexed; (Ref. 30915))
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Diagnostic Description

Description: (based on 19 specimens): Adult height: 8.0-14.0 cm. Rings: 11 + 35-36 (34-38). Snout length: 2.4 (2.1-2.8) in head length. Dorsal fin rays: 17 (16-18) covering 2+1 rings. Pectoral fin rays: 15-16. Coronet: low, with five rounded knobs. Spines: well-developed rounded knobs.Other distinctive characters: usually with prominent rounded eye spine.Color pattern: dusty green brown with dusty yellow dots and marbling and broken lines on head73; or dark, uniform.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species may be particularly susceptible to decline. The limited information on habitat suggests they inhabit shallow sea-grass beds (A. Holley, pers. comm. in Lourie et al. 1999) that are susceptible to human degradation, as well as making them susceptible to being caught as bycatch. All seahorse species have vital parental care, and many species studied to date have high site fidelity (Perante et al. 2002, Vincent et al. in review), highly structured social behaviour (Vincent and Sadler 1995), and relatively sparse distributions (Lourie et al. 1999). The importance of life history parameters in determining response to exploitation has been demonstrated for a number of species (Jennings et al. 1998).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; non-migratory; marine; depth range ? - 60 m (Ref. 52034)
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Trophic Strategy

Also found among sponges.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Male carries the eggs in a brood pouch (Ref. 205).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2003

Assessor/s
Project Seahorse

Reviewer/s
Foster, S.J., Marsden, A.D. & Vincent, A.C.J. (Syngnathid Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
There are no published data about population trends or total numbers of mature animals for this species. There is very little available information about its extent of occurrence or its area of occupancy. There have been no quantitative analyses examining the probability of extinction of this species. As a result, the assessors have insufficient data to properly assess the species against any of the IUCN criteria.

Hippocampus borboniensis previously was listed in 1996 as VU A2cd under the 1994 criteria. That assessment was based on suspected past declines in occupancy, occurrence and habitat, as well as on potential levels of exploitation. In reassessing the species with greater taxonomic understanding and under the new criteria we find no appropriate data on biology and ecology, habitat, abundance and distribution are available for this species. Further research is needed. Assessed as DD under the new criteria.

History
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Hippocampus borboniensis is found in the traditional medicine and curios trades (Vincent and Perry in prep.), however, the numbers of animals traded are unknown. Its habitat may also be threatened by degradation – the Mauritius and La Reunion coral reefs are being degraded by sedimentation and nutrient pollution (Bryant et al. 1998, Cuet et al. 1988, Naim 1993).
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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The entire genus Hippocampus was listed in Appendix II of CITES in November 2002. Implementation of this listing will begin May 2004. A permit or license is required to export dried or live syngnathids from South Africa. Further research on this species biology, ecology, habitat, abundance and distribution is needed.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of potential interest
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Wikipedia

Réunion seahorse

The Réunion seahorse (Hippocampus borboniensis) is a species of fish in the Syngnathidae family. It is found in Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion, South Africa, and Tanzania. Its natural habitat is subtidal aquatic beds. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Source

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