Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Hippocampus erectus, Lined Seahorse, Spotted Seahorse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body deep
snout short
D 16-20
white lines- cheek & around eye
pectoral 14-18

Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810

Lined Seahorse, Spotted Seahorse

Neck curved, with head at about right angle to body; coronet variable, a low, triangular wedge or a ridge with raised sharp edges or sharp spines; body relatively deep; snout short (33-42% of head length, shorter than part of head behind eye) and slender; cheek spine single or double; dorsal fin large, its base elevated, 18-19 (16-20) rays; pectorals (15-16 (14-18) rays) and anal small; no pelvic fins; tail prehensile, curlable, without a tail fin; body spines blunt to sharp; head, body and tail of some individuals with long branched skin flaps; 11 body rings (usually 1st, 3rd, 5th and 11th rings enlarged); 36 (34-39) tail rings; brood pouch on trunk, but extends along 5-7 tail rings.

Light yellow to nearly black; thin white lines radiating out below, above and behind eye, extending across operculum; body blotched, with irregular thin stripes along belly and thin bars on flank; female often with white dots on tail.

Reaches 19 cm.

Reefs, seagrass and macroalgal beds; often attached to drifting vegetation.

Depth range: 1-117 m.

Nova Scotia to Brazil. The Brazilian form likely is a separate species.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Corals
  • Flotsam
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Appendix II
  • Listed
Length Max
  • 19
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 117