The large-bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) is a fish, just a rather odd-looking one. It is one of the largest seahorse species, growing up to 35 centimetres. It occurs around New Zealand and south-eastern Australia. Seahorses are often found around seaweed, using their prehensile tail to grip. They can swim, but rather slowly, using their pectoral fins on the side of their heads. Shape and colouring help to camouflage seahorses from predators and also allow them to ambush prey – mainly small crustaceans. Māori know it as manaia. Researchers in the 2000s were looking at establishing an aquaculture industry as the seahorse is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and it may be a viable export product.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Melanie Lovell-Smith
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