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BROCHURE RACK

Rare seahorses spotted for first time in Philippine waters

31/07/2014 11:33:36
news/2010_jan/Hippocampus_pontohi_weedy_pygmy_seahorse_2_Credit_Lenny_Kim_The_Ducks_Diving_Romblon-The_Three_P_Holiday_Dive_Resort

The weedy pygmy seahorse © Lenny Kim/The Ducks Diving Romblon

For the first time, two rare species of seahorse have been photographed in the Philippines.

The seahorses, a weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) and Severn’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus severnsi), were photographed near to the island of Romblon, which lies in the West Philippine Sea, by a citizen scientist.

They were then submitted to the iSeahorse app, which collates sightings from the public, before being verified by the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Project Seahorse.

The discovery brings the number of seahorse species known to inhabit Philippine waters to 11.

Chai Apale, iSeahorse Philippines coordinator for Project Seahorse, said: “The exciting discovery of these seahorses in new waters demonstrates the important role citizen scientists can play in conservation.

“Seahorses are found across the globe from Hastings to the Seychelles. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, we’re encouraging the public to don their flippers and use the iSeahorse app to record their seahorse sightings.”

The Severn’s pygmy seahorse is a tiny 1.3cm tall - smaller than a sugar cube, while the weedy pygmy seahorse, which was previously only known to inhabit Indonesian waters, is just .1cm taller at 1.4cm.

There is not currently enough data to assess the conservation status of these two species, but it is hoped this news will help conservationists piece together the missing information.

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