Five New Pygmy Seahorses discovered

By Guido Trombetta on 1:48 PM , ,
It was just a few days ago that I spoke about the discovery of 10 new species of Amphibians in Colombia and now thanks to National Geographic News I learn that five new species of Pigmy Seahorses have just been discovered. Pigmy Seahorse are amongst the cutest creatures in the world and I've already show you one in the post about underwater photographer Roberto Rinaldi.
The five new species have been discovered in coral reefs in the Red Sea and Indonesia. All five are less than an inch tall (2.5 centimeters) and are among the tiniest known vertebrates.
It was thanks to the keen eyes of underwater photographers and divers that these secretive specimens came to light.
The seahorses, described in December 2008 and January 2009 studies, are the first to be discovered in five years.


photo Kai Walz, via National Geographic

One of five newly discovered seahorses, Debelius' pygmy seahorse was named after Helmut Debelius, the underwater photographer who led a successful campaign to track down this miniature Red Sea inhabitant. After initial sightings in 1993, it took over a decade to find the specimens described in a January 2009 study.


Photo Stephen Wong and Takako Uno, via National Geographic

At under half an inch tall (13 millimeters), Satomi's pygmy seahorse—named after dive guide Satomi Onishi—is a strong contender for the world's smallest seahorse. With their tails stretched out straight, two Satomi's pygmy seahorses would fit head-to-head across the face of a penny.
These miniscule seahorses from Indonesian reefs have been seen giving birth to tiny offspring, each about the size of a 12-point apostrophe.. like this: ' .


Photo Stephen Wong and Takako Uno, via National Geographic

Severns's pygmy seahorse, named after diver Mike Severns, is one of three new species named in a December 2008 study.
Study co-author Sara Lourie from McGill University in Canada credited local dive guides and photographers without whom the seahorses would have remained a mystery.
All the new seahorses were officially recognized after divers had shared photographs of their discoveries with scientists.


Photo Stephen Wong and Takako Uno, via National Geographic

Pontoh's pygmy seahorse, named after Indonesian dive guide Hence Pontoh, is one of many tiny specimens described in a December 2008 study.
Pygmy seahorses are high on the "wish lists" of many divers, who want to spot one for themselves. Their presence creates strong incentives to conserve the threatened coral reefs on which seahorses depend.


Photo Roberto Sozzani, via National Geographic
The Walea seahorse, a new discovered species is named after an island in central Sulawesi, Indonesia—the only place it has so far been found.


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