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Seahorses ( Hippocampus spp.); Biology, Population Status and Their Place in Cultivation

Kusatan Zafer

In this research the place of seahorses in taxonomy, their species variation, biological charac-teristics such as morphology, reproduction and feeding together with their cultivation and us-age were investigated. Seahorses belong to the Syngnathidae family of the classis Osteichthyes and have 33 species. They have exoskeleton formed of bony rings. Sex differentiation can be made externally. They are carnivorous animals and show monogamy as a reproductive be-havior. Three species are known to exist in our seas, having the largest species variation in Indo-Pacific Ocean. While they are largely used in marine aquaria, as ornaments and phar-macy, their natural populations declined mainly due to their consumption as aphrodisiac in some countries. Cultivation studies are carried out under controlled conditions to support their natural populations. These types of studies make it possible to protect the seahorse populations and also supply economic contribution.