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All About Seahorses and Seadragons

Seahorses and seadragons are weird creatures. With their unique shapes and colors, they are beautiful and graceful to look at. However, they aren't very good swimmers and they often die in storms. What's more bizarre is that their males carry the younglings, not the female. Let's take a look at some mesmerizing photographs of these spectacular creatures.

 
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The 'Lined Seahorse' (or Spotted seahorse)

In ancient Greek, hippos meant 'horse' and kampos meant 'sea monster', and so the seahorse's real name is 'Hippocampus', along with other varieties of fish. The lined seahorse is about 15 cm (6 inches) long and lives about 4 years.

 
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Beautiful seahorse in rainbow colors - Hamburg, Germany.
 
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The leafy seadragon. This kind of seadragon is a master of camouflage, able to hide among the plants from the many predators around it.
 
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The weedy seadragon. It looks a little less like a seadragon and a bit more like a seahorse. They use their prodigious snout to suck up tiny creatures for food. A weird fact about this creature: It swims sideways!
 
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A beautiful and delicate-looking seadragon at Birch Aquarium in San Diego.

The leafy seadragon will get to a length of about 35 cm (13.8 inches). Its cousin, the weedy dragon, can reach bigger sizes of up to 46 cm (18 inches) in length.

 
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Lacking both teeth and a stomach, the seahorse must constantly eat to make up for its poor digestive skills.
 
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A blue and pink leafy seadragon. Seadragons are mostly found near South and West Australia.

 

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A thorny (or spiny) seahorse. Mainly propelled by a small fin on its back, the seahorse is not the strongest of swimmers. When there's a storm, they often die as they cannot swim well enough to avoid being tossed around by it.
 
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A curious seahorse looking for food. One of the strangest things about seahorses is that the male gets pregnant, not the female.
 
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Yet these are not pregnant seahorses. These are the called the Pot-Bellied seahorses, one of the largest seahorse species. 
 
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A beautiful red thorny seahorse. This is one of various endangered seahorse species that was decimated due to its use in traditional Chinese medicine. 
 
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Incredibly effective camouflage.
 
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Stunning photos of a gray and a yellow seahorse at Zurich Zoo.
 
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A leafy seadragon making friends with a weedy one.
 
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The leafy seadragon uses fins along the side of its head to allow it to steer and turn. However, its outer skin is fairly rigid, limiting mobility.

Individual leafy seadragons have been observed to remain in one location for extended periods of time (up to 68 hours), but they sometimes move for lengthy periods. The tracking of one individual indicated it moved at up to 150 meters (490 feet) per hour.

 
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The pygmy seahorse is found in coastal areas ranging from southern Japan and Indonesia to northern Australia and New Caledonia on reefs and slopes at a depth of 10-40 meters (33–130 ft).
 
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Close up of a leafy seadragon.
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Close up of a weedy seadragon (left) and eggs hanging onto the male weedy seadragon (right).
 
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Every morning, seahorse couples do a mating dance in order to reinforce their permanent bond. They will mate for life.
 
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The difference between a pot-bellied seahorse and a lined seahorse.
 
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A male courts a female for days before potentially mating. During the courting ritual, seahorses curl their tails around each other.
 
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Married for life.
 
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Spectacular shot of two kissing seahorses.
 
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A thorny seahorse. Thorny seahorses can change their color at will to blend in with their environment.
 
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A lone seahorse, floating.
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