Monte Bello Seahorse Hippocampus montebelloensis Kuiter, 2001
[CAAB 37 282121]
Distribution Map see an interactive map here (new window)
The Monte Bello Seahorse lives amongst the macro-algae Sargassum and has a restricted distribution off Western Australia.
Distribution, ecology and habitat:
Endemic to tropical northwestern Australia, from Exmouth Gulf and the Monte Bello Islands; in inshore habitats amongst the macro-algae Sargassum from the surface at 5 m to depths between 15 and 35 m.
Height to at least 78 mm.
Food and feeding:
: Carnivores. Like most other seahorses, this species presumably feeds by sucking small prey items such as crustaceans and planktonic zooplankton into its mouth.
Reproduction and early life history:
Reproduction: Sexes separate, reproduction a form of viviparity or ovoviviparity, whereby the males give birth to tiny independent young. The female uses an ovipositor to transfer her eggs into an elaborate enclosed pouch under the abdomen of the male. The male not only fertilizes the eggs inside the pouch and provides physical protection for the developing embryos, he also osmoregulates and aerates the embryos and may provide some nourishment until the offfspring are born.
Eggs: Not described.
Larvae: Not described.
Meristics: D 18-19; P 15-16; trunk rings 11; tail rings 37.
Head and body: Head large, almost as long as trunk length; snout long, more than half head length; nasal-profile straight.
Spines and tubercles: Subdorsal spines 3/0,1,0; spine above eye of moderate size, length about pupil-diameter, slightly angled back; lateral head spine moderately large, recurving; nape spine elongate, directed forward; nasal-profile straight; shoulder ring with 3 spines of moderate size, uppermost and central spines at ends of pectoral-fin base, lowermost ventrally; superior trunk ridge sharp-edged with spines of small to moderate size on rings 1, 4, 7 and 11, extended by long dermal flaps at spine tips in some; superior tail ridge similar to superior trunk ridge, with enlarged spines at regular intervals, becoming progressively smaller posteriorly.
Coronet: Coronet moderately high, with 5 flat spines at apex, posterior 3 directed backward, central spine enlarged.
Lateral line: Lateral line present with pores detectable to about 14th tail ring.
Colour in life unknown. In preservative - overall pale brown with fine darker brown striations along head.
Similar to H. zebra, which differs in being less spiny, in having a smaller head relative to the trunk length and alternating light and dark bands on the head and body. H. alatus occurs in the same region but differs in having its upper shoulder-ring spine near the gill-opening rather than near the pectoral-fin base.
Although taken in trawls, there is no known trade in this species in the aquarium or Asian Traditional Medicine industries.
International: Listed under Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). As a result, the species is subject to the Convention, http://www.cites.org/.
Australian legislation: Marine Listed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999). http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/species/marine.html
The first known specimen of H. montebelloensis was found at the surface at night, clinging to a Sargassum fragment over 5 m of water.
Other common names:
Hippocampus montebelloensis Kuiter 2001. Rec. Aust. Mus. 53: 326, fig. 36, off Trimoulle Island, Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia.
From the Greek ippos = horse and kampe = curvature. The specific name montebelloensis is after the Monte Bello Islands, WA, the type locality of the species.
Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds.) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia, 2178 pp.
Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, UK, 240 pp.
Kuiter, R.H. 2001. Revision of the Australian Seahorse of the genus Hippocampus (Syngnathiformes: Syngnathidae) with descriptions of nine new species. Rec. Aust. Mus. 53: 293-340.
Pogonoski, J.J., D.A. Pollard & J.R. Paxton. 2002. Conservation Overview and Action Plan for Australian Threatened and Potentially Threatened Marine and Estuarine Fishes, Canberra, Environment Australia, 375 pp.
Citing this page:
[Fishes of Australia] (2008). Monte Bello Seahorse Hippocampus montebelloensis
Accessed 9 December 2013. http://foa.webboy.net/species/Hippocampus/montebelloensis in Fishes of Australia http://foa.webboy.net/