Native seahorses return to Living Coasts

Posted: 31st July, 2018

Hidden away in the seagrass meadows of the bay seahorses live largely unnoticed but now you will be able to see them at Torquay’s coastal zoo.

Curator of Living Coasts Clare Rugg said: “We now have two males and two females and we hope to maximize the chances of them breeding by providing the right conditions for them - good water quality, plenty of fresh food and seagrass which they cling to with their tails, which are prehensile, like those of various monkeys.

“There are two species of seahorse found in UK waters - the short snouted, which we have at Living Coasts, and the spiny or the long snouted seahorse, which was seen in the Bay during the seagrass surveys last year.”

The seahorses’ seagrass habitat is threatened by coastal development, irresponsible anchoring, dredging and other activities that disturb the seabed, including some fishing methods. Seagrass beds are also at risk from pollution and too much sediment in the water, which block sunlight and prevent growth.

Behind the scenes at Living Coasts staff are working to propagate seagrass. They have managed to grow some seagrass plants from seed, which is a significant success, as the seeds are notoriously tricky to germinate. The long-term aim is to grow it on a large-enough scale to plant out areas of suitable seabed and create more habitat for our native seahorses.

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