Bigbelly Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis Click to enlarge image
A Bigbelly Seahorse on a swimming net enclosure, Sydney Harbour. Image: Richard Vevers
© Richard Vevers

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    abdominalis
    Genus
    Hippocampus
    Family
    Syngnathidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 18 cm in length.

Introduction

The Bigbelly Seahorse has a low coronet, and as the common name implies, adults have very big 'bellies'. They live in a variety of habitats including shallow areas of seagrass to deeper sponge gardens.

Identification

The Bigbelly Seahorse has a low coronet, and as the common name implies, adults have very big 'bellies'.

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

Habitat

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

Distribution

It occurs in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia it is only known from the central to southern coasts of New South Wales.

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



References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life; the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
  6. 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.
  7. Lourie, S.A., Vincent, A.C.J.& H.J. Hall. 1999. Seahorses: an identification guide to the world's species and their conservation. Project Seahorse, London. Pp. 214.