Species encyclopedia

Big-belly Seahorse

Hippocampus abdominalis


This is one of the largest species off the southeast coast of Australia, growing up to 35 cm in length.

The big-belly seahorse can be found in algae fields and rocky shallows. It also lives near piers and other man-made constructions.

This creature, with its nocturnal habits, is often spotted in groups, feeding on small crustaceans.


The female deposits her eggs into a pouch at the base of her abdomen. She will have several clutches over the course of a single reproductive season. The eggs incubate for about four weeks. The young are expelled at night, at the full moon during the summer months. Once they emerge from the pouch, the young rise up to the surface where they use their tails to attach themselves to floating detritus.

Like most seahorses, this species is caught to be sold in dried form in Asian pharmacies. This trade, combined with the destruction of their habitat, is weakening the populations and endangering a large number of seahorse species.

The big-belly seahorse has been listed in Appendix II of the Washington Convention since 2004, making its trade subject to regulation.

Indo-Pacific area


Species encyclopedia

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