April 17, 2009
The pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) evolved its knobby body and rosy color to blend in with gorgonians (sea fans) of the genus Muricella, where the seahorse makes its home among the coral reefs of the Western Pacific. These fish are so tiny (only two centimeters in height) and so well camouflaged that they weren’t discovered until someone had collected the host gorgonian and placed it into an aquarium and then noticed little seahorses.
This photograph, by Vickie Coker of Austin, Texas, won first place in the “Macro” category of the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science 5th Annual Underwater Photography Contest. Check out all the winners on the contest site.
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