Malay common name: Kuda Laut
English common name: Spotted Seahorse
Scientific name: Hippocampus kuda
Photo Source: SpeakUpForTheVoiceless.org
If you’re going swimming in coastal waters, be careful not to squish me! I only grow up to a height of 17 centimetres at the most and am also not a very strong swimmer. I live in coastal seagrass beds, lagoons, mangroves, harbours, estuaries, and other brackish waters (aka saltwater). I prefer to stay close to the surface of the water; the deepest you’ll find me is 8 metres below the surface. I’m usually yellow but can temporarily change my colouring to blend in with my surroundings and to impress female seahorses! We seahorses do not believe in gender stereotypes. When the time comes, my partner will lay her eggs inside a brooding pouch on the front of my body where I will carry them until they hatch. I can fit anywhere from 20 to 1,000 eggs in my brooding pouch. Impressive, huh? When the babies hatch and come out of the pouch, they will only be about 7 millimetres long. I stay with the same female for my whole life and every morning we will wrap our tails together to dance.
I mainly eat zooplankton, fish larvae, and small crustaceans. I don’t have any teeth but I can suck up my prey using my snout and jaws. I play an important role in the marine ecosystem because I keep the populations of my prey under control. You can come to visit me at the Sungai Pulai estuary. If you do spot me, please don’t pick me up and be sure to leave me in the sea where I belong. For our species to survive, I need to stay in my natural habitat.
You can check out this video of my babies being born!