Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Hippocampus zosterae, Dwarf Seahorse

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout v short
head crown = high column, no spines
D 10-13
color variable
pectoral 10-13
v small

Hippocampus zosterae Jordan & Gilbert, 1882

Dwarf Seahorse

Neck curved, with head at about right angle to body; crown on top of head a high column or knob that lacks spines or projections; snout very short (23% of head length); eye large; dorsal fin large, its base elevated, 12 (10-13) rays; pectorals (11-12 rays) and anal small; no pelvic fins; tail prehensile, curlable, without a tail fin; body spines are low knobs; skin often covered with tiny warts; 9-10 trunk rings; 31-32 tail rings; brood pouch on trunk, but extends along 5-7 tail rings.

Color variable: mottled or not; some fish nearly all black; may be green; with whitish lines radiating from eye; a dark band along rear edge of dorsal fin.

Reaches 2.5 cm.

Lives in seagrass and macroalgal beds.

Depth range: 0.5-21 m.

Bermuda to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Antilles endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Appendix II
  • Listed
Length Max
  • 2.5
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 21