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Seahorse Lesson for Kids: Facts & Lifecycle

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson will introduce you to the unique and fascinating seahorse. You will learn where they live, what they eat...and a fun fact about seahorse babies!

Seahorse Features

What has a head like a horse, a tail like a monkey, and bony armor all over? If you guessed a seahorse, then you are correct! Despite the horse-like appearance that gives them their name, seahorses are a type of bony fish. They range in size from less than an inch to over one-foot long. Their narrow, compressed body shape helps them to swim through tiny rock crevices, and their long prehensile tails help them grab onto corals, aquatic plants - and each other!

Can you spot the seahorses? Pygmy seahorses are about half an inch long, and blend in with their coral habitat.
pygmy seahorses

Seahorses have long, straw-like snouts that allow them to eat tiny prey. They breathe through gills on the sides of their heads, and swim with small fins on their backs and heads. Instead of normal scales, they have bony plates under their skin that give them an armored appearance. They vary in color, and can even change colors to blend in with their surroundings.

A Seahorse's Home

Seahorses are found in temperate and warmer waters around the world. They can be found in such diverse habitats as the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, Caribbean mangrove forests, and the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland and Virginia. They need to live in salty, shallow areas that have plenty of food and that offer lots of objects to grab onto.

Slurp!

Seahorses are specialized feeders, meaning they can only eat certain kinds of prey. Their toothless mouths are so tiny that they can only eat small animals like newly-hatched shrimp larva. They may eat up to 3,000 small shrimp in a day! If you are wondering how they hold all that food in their bodies, seahorses have no need for storage. They have no stomachs, so food passes through them very quickly. They eat almost non-stop to get the energy they need to complete daily tasks. These creatures typically live 1 to 5 years.

Seahorses use their narrow jaws to slurp up tiny shrimp.
seahorse head

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