Seahorses: stealth hunters who sneak up on faster prey

Why do seahorses look like seahorses?  It’s no accidental beauty.  Seahorses swim slowly, but feed on copepods who swim fast. The shape of the seahorse’s head makes no waves, allowing them to sneak up on their prey.

Strike zone: the black circle, where lack of disturbance doesn't startle prey

Strike zone: the black circle, where lack of disturbance doesn’t startle prey

Dr. Brad Gemmell, from the University of Texas, used high-speed 3D imaging to study the dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae, from the Bahamas and the U.S. Watching how the seahorses approach highly sensitive copepods (Acartia tonsa) undetected, the scientists were able to observe the minimal disturbance of water around the snout.

Sources:

Brad J. Gemmell, Jian Sheng & Edward J. Buskey, Morphology of seahorse head hydrodynamically aids in capture of evasive prey, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2840 doi:10.1038/ncomms3840

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