Animal Species:Potbelly Seahorse, Hippocampus bleekeri Fowler, 1908

The Potbelly Seahorse is one of the largest species of seahorses, growing to 30 cm in length. It has more tail rings than any other seahorse species, a low coronet, and as the common name implies, adults have very big 'bellies'. The colouration of the Potbelly Seahorse is variable. It can be grey, brown, orange, yellow. It often has dark spots and long filaments on the head or body. The colouration appears correlated with habitat.

Standard Common Name

Potbelly Seahorse

Identification

The Potbelly Seahorse has more tail rings than any other seahorse species, a low coronet, and as the common name implies, adults have very big 'bellies'.

The colouration of the Potbelly Seahorse is variable. It can be grey, brown, orange, yellow. It often has dark spots and long filaments on the head or body. The colouration appears correlated with habitat.

Size range

The Potbelly Seahorse is one of the largest species of seahorses, growing to 30 cm in length.

Similar Species

The Potbelly Seahorse looks similar to the Bigbelly Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis. The two species can be separated by the Bigbelly Seahorse's shorter snout, the more common presence of head filaments in the Potbelly Seahorse, and their disjunct distributions.

Distribution

The Potbelly Seahorse is an endemic species that occurs in temperate marine waters from the eastern Victoria and Tasmania to South Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Hippocampus bleekeri

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Potbelly Seahorse specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species lives in a range of habitats from shallow areas of seagrass to deeper sponge gardens.

Classification

Species:
bleekeri
Genus:
Hippocampus
Family:
Syngnathidae
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 2001. Revision of the Australian Seahorses of the Genus Hippocampus (Syngnathiformes: Syngnathidae) with Descriptions of Nine New Species. Records of the Australian Museum. 53: 293-340.


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Tags Potbelly Seahorse, Hippocampus bleekeri, grey, brown, orange, yellow, dark spots, 10 cm - 30 cm, seagrass, sponge gardens, marine,