What's remarkable about the Seahorse head

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Seahorses look distinctive in many ways but their signature feature is the way they look like a horse. The top part of a Seahorse looks very much like a horse because its head is bent at a 90-degree angle to its body.

The Seahorse's head is bent and is movable because seahorses have a flexible, well-defined curved neck.

No big deal. Right? We see animals with necks and bent heads all around us.

 

Oh ho ho! It is a big deal, very BIG deal.

 

To understand why Seahorses having necks is extraordinary, you'll have to first appreciate that Seahorses are fishes.

 

 

The Seahorse is a fish

If you do not already know the Seahorse is a fish, this little fact is probably surprising and puzzling. This enigmatic creature has certainly puzzled scientists for a long time. Even into the nineteenth century there was confusion. Many thought Seahorses were insects or shrimps then.

After much debate over many years, scientists finally decided that seahorses are fish.

Seahorses are classified as fish because they have a backbone, breathe with gills, have a swim bladder for controlling their buoyancy and use fins to move about.

 

 

It is all in the neck

Fishes don't have necks. That's right! In fact, aquatic animals don't have necks. Head is connected to body directly.

You may not have noticed but that's how it is. Aquatic animals do better without necks as it is simpler and more efficient to turn the whole body.

We don't see Seahorse having a neck as a big deal as we don't really see it as a fish even when we know it is one.

There is another fish with a neck, the only one in freshwater:

 

 

Were you spooked by the Lepidogalaxias Salamandroides in the video?

 

Now imagine a fish,    a big one,    turns its head and look at you,    without moving its body. That will freak you out, wouldn't it?

That's the kind of stuff nightmares are made of!

We don't feel chills when Seahorses lift their heads to look at us because we don't see them as fishes, even when we know that's what they are.

 

The Seahorse is the only fish in seas and oceans with a neck. That's really unique.

 

 

Seahorse-version of a fingerprint

Talking about unique, we humans have fingerprints that are unique to each individual.

Seahorses also have something on them that is unique to each individual.

It is a group of spines on the top of their head called coronet because it looks like a crown.

The ridges of the coronet form a pattern. No two Seahorses have the same coronet pattern allowing individuals to be indentified.

 

Cheers,
Agalil Team

 

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