Extent of occurrence includes Southern Australia, Victoria,Tasmania, and Western Australia. Area of occupancy includes documented populations in Port Philip Bay region of Victoria (Moreau and Vincent 2004), Spencer Gulf and St. Vincent Gulf in South Australia, Forsters Inlet southward to Port Arthur in eastern Tasmania (Lourie et al. 1999) and from the Bass Strait (Last et al. 1983).
Likely to inhabit the Blanche Harbour-Douglas Bank Aquatic Reserve (Marine Protected Area) in Spencer Gulf, Southern Australia (Pogonoski et al. 2002).
- Lourie, S.A., A.C.J. Vincent and H.J. Hall 1999 Seahorses: an identification guide to the world's species and their conservation. Project Seahorse, London. 214 p. (Ref. 30915)
- Kuiter, R.H. 1993 Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. University of Hawaii Press. Honolulu, Hawaii. 437 p. (Ref. 9002)
Habitat and Ecology
In Port Philip Bay animals occur in small to large aggregations (Kuiter 1993) with male;female sex ratios of 1:1 (Moreau and Vincent 2004). Group (2–5 individuals) occurrence coincides with particular seaweed areas that are the site of early morning social encounters (Moreau and Vincent 2004). Kuiter (2000) suggests that small groups congregate in safe places at night, often high in macroalgae to keep away from crabs on the substrate. Adults exhibit variable site fidelity, with 12 of 38 individuals remaining within a focal study area for five weeks of observation (Moreau and Vincent 2004). Females use significantly larger area than males (Moreau and Vincent 2004).
H. breviceps is thought to breed on an approximately monthly cycle throughout the Austral summer, producing 50–100 young per brood (Kuiter 2000). Males have large pouches that they inflate when courting females. In situ observations indicate that adult seahorses display and interact with potential partners, although not every day, and not necessarily with the same partner at each encounter (Moreau and Vincent 2004). Females transfer batches of eggs (1.6 mm diameter (Vincent 1990) to males during copulation which can take from a matter of minutes to 2.5 days, in ex situ conditions (Kuiter 1993). Kuiter (1993) reports that in captivity, males may accept eggs from more than one female, although this has yet to be observed in natural wild pairs. Larvae have been observed swimming to the surface upon release, where they grasp small bits of weed or debris in surface waters (Kuiter 2000). Kuiter (2000) reports size at settlement to be 25 mm.
Longevity in aquaria is at least 3–5 years (P.Quong, pers. comm. in Pogonoski et al. 2002), but lifespan in the wild is unknown.
- Foster, S.J. and A.C.J. Vincent 2004 Life history and ecology of seahorses: implications for conservation and management. J. Fish Biol. 65:1-61. (Ref. 52034)
Depth range (m): 1 - 5
Depth range (m): 1 - 5
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hippocampus breviceps
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Data Deficient(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1996Data Deficient
1. All syngnathids are listed as Protected Aquatic Biota in Victoria.
2. The Tasmanian Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 prohibits the take of all syngnathids in Tasmania (by non-permit holders, since Sept. 1994).
3. All syngnathids are subject to the export controls of the Commonwealth Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 from 1 January 1998.
4. Australian H. breviceps populations were moved under the Australian Wildlife Protection Act in 1998 and placed under the EPBC Act in 2001.
5. No Australian Society of Fish Biology Listing.
6. Likely to inhabit the Blanche Harbour-Douglas Bank Aquatic Reserve (Marine Protected Areas) in Spencer Gulf, Southern Australia.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The knobby seahorse or short-head seahorse (not to be confused with the Short-snouted seahorse), Hippocampus breviceps, is a species of fish in the Syngnathidae family. It is endemic to Australia. Its natural habitats are open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs, estuarine waters, intertidal flats, coastal saline lagoons, and karsts.
- Morgan, S.K., et al. 2006. Hippocampus breviceps. 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 30 May 2013.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Hippocampus breviceps" in FishBase. December 2007 version.
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