A QUARTET of Australians have moved into a local aquarium as part of a new breeding programme.
The big-belly seahorses have arrived at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium from its sister aquarium at Newquay in Cornwall, and it is hoped they will form a satellite colony for the endangered species.
The Australian pot-belly or big-belly seahorse is one of the largest seahorse species in the world and can grow to more than 30cms in length.
The fish get their name because of their prominent bellies which are shared by both males and females.
Pot-belly seahorses are also among the longest lived seahorse species. In the wild it is quite common for individuals to live for up to nine years and it is believed they will survive even longer in captivity.
Blue Reef’s Anna Pellegrino said: “The plan is for these four seahorses to form a new breeding colony here at the aquarium.
“It’s obviously still very early days but the initial signs are good and all of them appear to have settled in well to their new home.
“Now it’s just a case of watching, waiting and hoping that we start to see signs of breeding behaviour over the coming weeks and months.”
In the wild virtually all of the approximate 35 species of seahorse are now under threat, due to loss of habitat, pollution, the souvenir trade and traditional Far East medicine.