We’ve never really given much thought as to why seahorses swim upright or why they have S-shaped bodies but that hasn’t stopped curious researchers from teasing out some possible answers. Unlike the streamlined and tubular pipefish, the venerable seahorse is has a curved body shape which allows it to get a greater reach to capture it’s prey.
The effect of body curvature on prey capture was recently investigated by a team of researchers studying the ecomorphology of seahorses. By modeling the body shape of seahorses and pipefish and it’s effect on prey capture, scientists from Arizona State university were able to understand that the curved neck and bent head of the seahorse gave it a longer reach and essentially allows the seahorse to sneak up on and eat more of the small shrimp that make up the bulk of it’s diet. The new study on the S shape of seahorses was recently published in the journal Nature Communications, and their website includes a short video explaining the findings in more detail.