A clutch of hybrid seahorses has been raised by Florida Institute of Technology researchers resulting in a nice herd of lined and longsnout seahorse crosses. The hybridization began when aquarists at Vero Beach Marine Lab noticed courtship and mating between a female Hippocampus reidi and male Hippocampus erectus.
The study of these hybrid seahorses was primarily undertaken by research associates Nancy Pham and Adeljean Ho, with Mr. Ho having previously weighed in on Reef Builders about the unusually bright coloration of the Tangerine Clownfish. This particular cross is officially referred to as Hippocampus reidi x erectus since the maternity of this live bearing species has a strong outcome on the traits of the hybrid seahorse offspring.
Speaking of which, the herd of hybrid are beautiful and varied all at once. All the individuals in these photos are the same age 160 days post release. They were all reared under similar conditions some of them a more flexible in color changing abilities. Some of the hybrid seahorses tend to stay black while others turn bright yellow. Others have a lot a reticulation like erectus, some have large black spots (reidi), while some of them have no spots or reticulation at all.
For all the hybrid stories we cover, hybrid seahorses haven’t come up. No doubt their system of pair bonding and live birth prevents seahorse hybrids from occurring as often as say a pelagic spawning fish. The best part is that this hybrid story is one of captive aquaculture, meaning that some of these hybrid horsies are available to seahorse lovers, at wholesale by Proaquatix and retailing now at Seahorse Source.