If you haven’t been to the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, make sure it is on your must visit list the next time you are in the City by the Bay. The aquarium’s live Philippine reef exhibit is so spectacular you would think you are diving in Anilao or Moalboal. The newest arrivals to the collection of vast marine fauna at the aquarium are baby pygmy seahorses (Hippocampus bargibanti) that are the offspring of a breeding pair that were collected in the Philippines in May of this year.
Steinhart biologists Matt Wandell and Richard Ross have been overseeing the pair and last month, newborn seahorses appeared. The babies have settled on Gorgonian corals of the genus Muricella, according to Advanced Aquarist.
The babies have also changed their coloration to match that of the corals, a nice form of camouflage. Pygmy seahorses, of which there are eight known species, are very small, growing about 14-27mm in length (half an inch to just over an inch) from tip of the tail to the end of the head. The Bargibanti pygmy seahorse lives its entire adult life on Muricella corals and are the largest of the pygmy seahorses, growing to 2.7cm. In addition to the Philippines, they can be found in Indonesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
John B. Virata has been keeping fish since he was 10 years old. He currently keeps an 80 gallon cichlid tank, a 20 gallon freshwater community tank and a 29 gallon BioCube with a Percula clown, a huge blue green chromis, and a firefish all in his kitchen, and a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with a pair of Ocellaris clowns, two blue green chromis, a six line wrasse, a peppermint shrimp, assorted algae and a few aiptasia anemones in his living room. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata