Do you love horses? Who doesn’t, right? Today’s Wonder of the Day isn’t about those big, beautiful horses that gallop in the fields, though.

Today, we’re diving deep into the sea to explore some small aquatic “horses” that are beautiful and amazing. What are we talking about? Seahorses, of course!

In the seas of the world, there are 47 species of seahorses. These fish are part of the genus Hippocampus, which comes from the ancient Greek words meaning “horse” and “sea monster.”

Seahorses can be found most often in shallow waters in tropical areas. They tend to prefer to live in sheltered areas, such as sea grass beds and coral reefs.

Many seahorses are as small as a half-inch in length. The largest seahorses can grow to just over a foot in length.

They get their name for their resemblance to horses. Although they’re fish, they don’t have scales. Instead, they have thin skin that’s stretched over bony plates arranged in rings throughout their bodies.

Seahorses are quite unique creatures. Unlike most other types of fish, they swim upright and they do so very slowly. For example, the dwarf seahorse is considered the world’s slowest moving fish, traveling just five feet per hour! Much of the time, you can find seahorses resting with their tails wrapped around a nearby stationary object.

Seahorses have flexible necks and long snouts that they use to suck up food. They search for food constantly and can eat up to 3,000 brine shrimp in a single day!

They also have a unique bony “crown” on their heads called a coronet. Like a fingerprint, the coronet is distinct for each seahorse.

One of the most interesting things about seahorses is that it is the male who carries seahorse eggs until they hatch. This makes seahorses one of the few animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.

During the mating process, male and female seahorses often hold tails and engage in a courtship dance. However, contrary to popular belief, seahorses do not usually mate for life.

Scientists worry that many seahorse populations are becoming endangered due to the fact that many of their habitats, such as coral reefs, are disappearing. Overfishing may also be a factor. Scientists estimate as many as 20 million seahorses may be caught and sold each year for use in Chinese herbal medicines.

122 Join the Discussion

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  1. Wow today’s wonder was awesome!!!! I think seahorses are so cute! They are very interesting too. That video was pretty cool I love that music. Another great wonder thanks to you guys!

    I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be about what’s the moon made of or when do you guys post the wonders.

    • Yay, thanks for letting us know how much you enjoyed today’s Wonder, Wondergirl101! We really enjoyed the video, too– the music and the scenery was so soothing! We felt like we were swimming with the seahorses, too! :)

    • Hey there, Andrea and Natalie! We’re so excited that you’re WONDERing about the defense mechanisms of the seahorse! We believe there are some poisonous species of the seahorse, but their ability to camouflage themselves in their surroundings is one of their greatest assets! :)

  2. I thought today’s wonder was cool because seahorses are such interesting ceatures. I have a few questions:
    1: What sea do seahorses live in?
    2: How old do they have to get to be 1 ft. long?
    3: How old do seahorses usally live?

    • Hey Wonder Friend J.D! Thanks for joining the fun with the rest of your Wonder classmates in Mrs. Ski’s class! Seahorses are super cool creatures– they almost look magical! We bet you could do some research of your own to find out where seahorses live and how big they can be before a certain age. Some seahorses live short lives, some live longer. The average life of a seahorse is one to five years! :)

  3. We thought it was cool that the male seahorses carry the eggs.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about bats, owl, wolves, ro bears.

    • We agree with you, Wonder Friends in Ms. Bayko’s Class! How cool that the males carry the eggs! :)

      Thanks for sharing your guesses with us… we can’t wait until tomorrow! By the way, we’re WONDERing: what is/are ro bears?! :)

    • We bet you’ll learn about where seahorses live if you check out our Wonder today, Abby! Check out an excerpt of today’s Wonder below:

      “Seahorses can be found most often in shallow waters in tropical areas. They tend to prefer to live in sheltered areas, such as sea grass beds and coral reefs.
      Many seahorses are as small as a half-inch in length. The largest seahorses can grow to just over a foot in length.
      They get their name for their resemblance to horses. Although they’re fish, they don’t have scales. Instead, they have thin skin that’s stretched over bony plates arranged in rings throughout their bodies.” :)

    • What a great question from our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Chic’s class! We know that seahorses are good at camouflaging themselves in their natural habitat. They like to rest near the coral reef, and sometimes it’s hard to spot them since they can move so slowly! They can also change color to blend into their surroundings! Thanks for sharing your comment and WONDERing with us today, Wonder Friends! :)

    • We agree with you, Gabrianna! Seahorses are majestical creatures of the sea! We are glad you shared one of their defense mechanisms with us, too– changing color to blend into their surroundings! :)

  4. This is a awesome WONDER keep up the good work and I really don’t know what tomorrow’s WONDER will be but I hope it is going to be cool.

    Sincerely: Wonderdude

  5. We are wondering how many baby seahorses are born at one time? Also, how old would a seahorse be before he can give birth? (Yeah seahorse guys!)

    • Great question, Wonder Friends in Mr. Mac’s 5th Grade Class! Male seahorses have a pouch, like kangaroos, and they carry the female seahorses as they grow. Then, male seahorses have about 100 to 200 babies at one time… sometimes more, sometimes less! WOW! :)

    • Alright, Wonder Friends C’s Kids! Thanks for joining us today as we explore the deep sea! The average lifespan of a seahorse is anywhere from one to five years… but we also learned that seahorses are in high demand, as some cultures use them for medicinal purposes. Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

    • Great question, Wonderer! The male and female seahorses have a mating period, kind of like dating for seahorses. Scientists refer to the dance that seahorses do before they mate… they get to know one another! :)

    • Kind of like a kangaroo, the male seahorses have a pouch to protect the female’s eggs! Isn’t that cool, Wonder Friends in Mrs. J’s Class! We think this is one of the only species we know of that has the male carry the eggs as the babies develop! :)

  6. We wonder how can you tell which seahorses are male vs. female? We also wonder why in this particular species, the male carries the eggs rather than the female. Lastly, we wondered why their eyes are soooo big compared to their bodies!

    • You’ve got some great questions, Wonder Friends in Ms. H’s 5th Grade Class! We are so impressed with your WONDERing that we bet you can do some research of your own! Females are usually the ones to attract a male mate, and are usually brighter in color to stand out! :)

    • We can’t wait to look up at the stars tonight and Wonder… thanks for sharing your guess Wonder Friends in Mrs. S’s class! Happy Friday! :)

  7. HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! Seahorses are so adorable and is a fact you may not be able to take a ride on them!
    Sincerely Danielle :)

    • Yes, some seahorses can camouflage themselves– it’s a type of defense mechanism to keep them safe! We Wonder if you know of any other species who use camouflage as a way to protect themselves? :)

    • Alright, Janelle! We’re so glad you’re here with us today! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend– we look forward to seeing you and your classmates from Mrs. Cornies’ class soon! :)

    • Gee whiz, thanks Janelle! We Wonder if you see any resemblance between a horse and a seahorse… they have similar features! :)

  8. Hey there, Wonderopolis!
    I LOVE horses! That video was too cool for words. I think tomorrow’s wonder would be something about dawn or sunrise. I can’t wait!!!

    • Hooray, we’re so glad you enjoyed this topic, Wondergirl from Mrs. Perry’s class! We bet you’ll like the next Wonder with a guess like that! See you soon! :)

  9. Dear Wonderopolis,

    My librarian at school showed my class the video. I told my mom about seahorses, and we watched the video. The wonder is so cool, and the video is awesome. I can’t believe that seahorses travel five feet an hour! Now, we are going to look up football wonders! Thanks for having this cool website!


    • Wow, how cool, Eli! We’re glad that you and your mom have been WONDERing together! There is so much to do at Wonderopolis that we are always learning something new! Hooray for Wondering! :)

  10. I love sea horses how many sea horses in the world? OK so when one sea horse is born how long does it take for the second sea horse to be born, how many seahorses in a litter, how many litters can a seahorse have? What’s the life cycle for sea horses how long do they live what do they eat?

    • WOW, so many new and exciting Wonders! How terrific, Wonder Friend! We bet you can do some searching of your own to find out about baby seahorses, what they eat and how they are born! We found out that the average seahorse can live about one to five years, too! :)

  11. We loved seeing the little seahorses! We were WONDERing if seahorses bite in self defense? Also, what layer of the ocean do they live in? Lastly, what is the seahorses most threatening predator? Thanks!

    • How great, Wonder Friends in Mrs. B’s class! We’re so happy you’re here! Seahorses live in the warmest part of the ocean, where it is shallow and close to the shore. The sunlight keeps this part of the ocean warm for our seahorse friends. While seahorses can bite other seahorses (when they are fighting for the female seahorses’ attention), they don’t have any teeth- so it can’t hurt very much! We Wonder if you can do some research of your about seahorses’ predator! We would love to learn more! :)

    • Unless there is a giant seahorse that you discovered, we think it would be very difficult to ride a seahorse, Payton! :)

  12. I thought this wonder was really cool. I did not know that seahorses were a 1/2 inch big. Thank you so much for teaching me all this new stuff I did not know about seahorses. Thank you for coming to our classroom.

    • We’re so glad that you learned something new about seahorses, Cade768! We had a WONDERful time WONDERing with you and your Wonder classmates, too! Have a terrific Thursday! We’ll see you soon! :)

    • Hi there, Janelle! We’re so glad you are having fun at Wonderopolis! We are lucky to have great Wonder Friends like you! :)

  13. Hi can you look at the “Can Penguins Fly?” I have my new response waiting for you anyways I really love seahorses they are my 3rd favourite animal and I already knew that seahorses are endangered I have the bracelet, necklace, fossil of seahorse ahh I really love them so much I really wish that I will see them but it’s hard to see them but I did see them in the aquatic zoo but I really want to see them in the wild.

    Love Kezia/Monkey Geek :)

    • Hey Monkey Geek! We think you are a SUPER Wonder Friend, with a special love for animals! We love reading your comments– you are always WONDERing about the lives of different animals and how you plan to care for them in the future. We are very proud of you, Wonder Friend! :)

  14. Hi wonderopoils sorry I havent been on lately I was busy and I played some more of your games they’re really fun and thanks for telling me about my question. :)

  15. I loved today’s video! People in my class want to wonder about turtles, snowflakes, polar bears and dogs! And how big can a seahorse get?

    • Hooray, we’re so glad you’re here, Shyaunna! We can’t wait to Wonder with you tomorrow… and thanks for sharing your great Wonder ideas, too! :)

  16. WOW… I never knew there were so many kinds of seahorses. They are so beautiful… Are there really seahorses that look like plants?

    • We’re so happy that our seahorse Wonder made you smile, Addie! We LOVE learning about new, cool things together! We also learned about different seahorses, and how some blend into their surroundings as a means of protection! :)

  17. I like horses and I would love to have one. I think that people should save endangered animals even if it’s like a gator. :) I love animals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We are so happy that you have been WONDERing about different animals, Ivy! It’s so great that you are interested in learning about animals of all kinds! We’re so glad you shared your comment with us! :)

  18. Hi I just wanted you to know that I’m very sorry that I haven’t entered that website everyday because I was busy and I just wanted you to know that I am the world’s top animal lover!

    • Welcome back, Monkey Geek! We sure are glad you’re back– we hope you’ve been WONDERing in the meantime! Keep up the great work, WONDERing and learning about animals! :)

  19. I have a riddle: what walks on 4 legs then 2 legs then 3 legs?
    Also I have another one: what has a head and a tail but no body?

    • WOW, we LOVE riddles, Janelle! Thanks for sharing yours today!

      We Wonder if these guesses are correct… a dog who can’t make up his mind and they scratches his paw?
      We think the answer to your second riddle is a head of lettuce with shrimp tails next to it! Are we correct!? :)

    • Jeffrey the seahorse sounds really cool, Meadoe! We Wonder how long you’ve had Jeffrey as a pet? Thanks for sharing your Wonder comment with us! :)

    • Great question, Wonder Friend Marc! We did some more WONDERing and learned that the average seahorse can live as short as one year and as long as five years! We are so glad you’re here today– thanks for sharing your cool and kind comment! :)

    • How cool, Wonder Friend Lea! We’re so excited that this Wonder made you smile! We hope you learn more about seahorses from this Wonder… and perhaps you can do some WONDERing of your own about your favorite sea animal! :)

  20. We were wondering if baby seahorses ride on their parents? Are seahorses born with their eyes shut? Why do seahorses have so many babies? How big are seahorses when they are born? Thanks!

    • WOW, we are THRILLED to read all your awesome questions about seahorses! Thanks for visiting us today, Ms. J’s Gr. 3/4 Class! HOORAY for you! :)

      Baby seahorses stay close to their dad after they are born, and they like to hang on to nearby plants with their tails– those tails are very strong! Seahorses are SUPER tiny when they’re born… we hope you’ll continue to do some research and WONDERing of your own about seahorses! We can’t wait to hear about what you find! :)

    • Great question, Wonder Friend Kim! Male seahorses have a pouch to hold all the eggs! The pouch is called the “brood pouch”, which holds the eggs until the male is ready to give birth! :)

    • Hey there, Olivia! Thanks for sharing your comment and your very own Wonder, too! Seahorses have to defend themselves from predators, so they can camouflage themselves to hide in plain sight. However, seahorses are not dangerous– but they are in danger of becoming extinct! Thank you for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Hey there, Cupcake Sprinkles! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! We are glad you have been thinking about the different ways you can hang out with seahorses! They sure are tiny creatures, so perhaps you’ll have to get a big group of seahorses together to ride on them! :)

  21. Dear wonderopolis I learned that there are different kinds of sea horses. Their houses are in coral reef and seaweed.

    • How cool, Wonder Friend Camille! Seahorses are super WONDERful to learn about, aren’t they!? We Wonder what it would be like to live in a coral reef decorated with seaweed… would you like to live like a seahorse, Camille? :)

  22. how can we ever ride a seahores when they are small??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Great question, Thuta! We were WONDERing if the seahorse is related to the horses we can ride. What do you think? :)

  23. Hi Wonderopolis! I bet only a small fish could ride a sea horse like those.
    Bye I think your awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We love your enthusiasm, Wonderfriend! We think you are awesome too! Thanks for hanging out with us at Wonderopolis today! :)

    • Hi Jaylan! Thanks for WONDERing with us! Seahorses do travel from place to place! Have you ever seen a seahorse? They’re pretty cool looking! :)

    • Hi Malyesha! Thanks for WONDERing with us! We’ve had so much fun learning with you! Check out friends at National Geographic to see more of the seahorse! They have really neat pictures! :)

    • Hi Malaya! The female actually lays the eggs and passes them to the male to carry the eggs until the baby seahorse is born. The male usually carries the eggs for 9 to 45 days. Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

    • Hi Karie! The male seahorse has a pouch where the female lays the eggs! Have you ever seen a seahorse? Thanks for WONDERing! :)

    • Thank you for sharing your comments with us, Kaitlyn! The largest seahorse is just 14 inches long, so you’re right, you can’t ride a seahorse! We hope you are having a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can you ride a seahorse?
  • Are seahorses fish?
  • What makes seahorses so unique?

Wonder Gallery

SeahorseVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to learn a bit more about seahorses? Jump online to check out NOVA Online’s Seahorse Roundup to see pictures of different seahorse species.

One of the fascinating things about seahorses is that the males carry their unborn young.  They’re not the only ones, though. Learn more at NOVA Online’s Animal Super-Dads page.

You can also explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s The Secret Lives of Seahorses website to learn more about these curious creatures. Have fun!

Still Wondering

In ReadWriteThink’s As Slippery as an Eel: An Ocean Unit Exploring Simile and Metaphor lesson, children play with simile and metaphor as they study the ocean.

Wonder What’s Next?

Don’t wait for the sun to come up to check out tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!

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