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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Syngnathidae > Genus Hippocampus
Estuarine seahorse
Hippocampus kuda
Family Syngnathidae
updated Oct 2020

Where seen? This seahorse is sometimes seen on many of our Northern shores, among seagrasses. According to the Singapore Red Data Book, it is found mainly in seagrass areas near sources of freshwater and found all around Singapore in shallow waters. 'Kuda' means 'horse' in Malay.

Features: 6-10cm long. Body without large, obvious spines. Colours seen include yellow, brown, sometimes pinkish or even orangey. Some have spots on the body. Often seen in a pair near one another, not necessarily in the same colour: e.g,. one is bright yellow, the other is dark; brown or even black. Sometimes, very tiny ones only about 2cm long are seen among seaweeds. These tend to be 'hairy'.

It's difficult to tell this seahorse apart from the Tiger-tailed seahorse (Hippocampus comes). More on how to tell apart the Tiger-tail and Estuarine seahorses.

Often seen in a pair.
Tanah Merah, Aug 09


Changi, Jul 07

Often seen in a pair.
Changi, May 05

Small ones are 'hairy'.
Changi, Dec 03


Very well camouflaged!
(Hint: it's the yellow one)
Changi, Jun 11

Pregnant fathers: Seahorses reproduce in a peculiar way. It is male that carries the eggs in his body and thus becomes 'pregnant'. The female lays her eggs in his pouch. Emerging from the eggs, the babies hatch as miniature seahorses and may remain in the pouch for a while before the father goes into 'labour' and ejects them out of the pouch.

Pregnant papa
Pasir Ris Park, Jul 08

Very pregnant papa.
Changi, May 11


A pair with a pregnant papa.
Tanah Merah, Sep 09
Status and threats: Seahorses are listed as CITES II (which means their international trade is monitored) and are considered globally vulnerable. Hippocampus kuda is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.

Estuarine seahorses on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Pasir Ris Park, Jun 08
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pasir Ris Park, Apr 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.


Pasir Ris Park, Jul 17
Photo shared by Able Yeo on facebook.

Chek Jawa, Jul 18
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Beting Bronok, Jun 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Beting Bronok, Jul 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Beting Bronok, Jul 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Beting Bronok, Jun 18
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Beting Bronok, Jul 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Changi, May 17
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Changi, Apr 09
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.



Tanah Merah, Jun 09
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

Tanah Merah, Jun 09
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.


East Coast Park, Jul 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

East Coast Park, May 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Siloso, Dec 08
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on his blog.

Sentosa Serapong, Jun 18
Photo shared by Abel Yeo on facebook.

Links

References

  • Kelvin K. P. Lim. 22 November 2013. Spotted seahorses at Changi Beach, Hippocampus kuda. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2013: 71-73
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H., 2000 (English edition). Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives: A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes TMC Publishing, UK. 240 pp.
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