Hippocampus bargibanti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Hippocampus bargibanti Whitley, 1970
Common Name(s):
English Bargibant's Seahorse, Gorgonian Seahorse, Pygmy Seahorse
Taxonomic Source(s): Gomon, M.F. 1997. A remarkable new pygmy seahorse (Syngnathidae: Hippocampus) from South-Eastern Australia, with a description of H. bargibanti Whitley from New Caledonia. Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 56(1): 245–253.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-22
Assessor(s): Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Smith, R. & Ralph, G.
Hippocampus bargibanti is a coral reef-inhabiting pygmy seahorse that inhabits the Indo-West Pacific from southern Sumatra to New Caledonia and from Tokyo, Japan, to the southern edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The species is only found on Muricella corals. They may be threatened by habitat loss due to coastal development, polllution, destructive fishing practices, and the effects of climate change. Further research is needed to determine population size, trends in abundance, and how these threats are affecting the species. Therefore H. bargibanti is listed as Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hippocampus bargibanti inhabits waters in the Indo-West Pacific from southern Sumatra to New Caledonia and from Tokyo, Japan, to the southern edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (Lourie et al. 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Queensland); Indonesia (Bali, Jawa, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda Is., Maluku, Papua, Sulawesi, Sumatera); Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Nansei-shoto); New Caledonia; Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group)); Philippines; Solomon Islands (South Solomons); Taiwan, Province of China (Taiwan, Province of China (main island))
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central; Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Lower depth limit (metres):40
Upper depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There has been one local study completed on population density for Hippocampus bargibanti. 0.34 (+/-0.20) individuals per 200m² were observed over a 20 km coastal MPA in southeast Sulawesi (Smith et al. 2012). None of the Muricella gorgonian coral species on which this species lives have been assessed on the IUCN Red List. The species may decline if ocean acidification or warming waters affect their coral hosts. Further research is needed to determine the overall population size and trends in abundance for H. bargibanti.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Hippocampus bargibanti inhabits coral reefs and uses Muricella spp. corals as its obligatory holdfast (Smith et al. 2012). Little is known about feeding, but they are likely similar to other seahorses in consuming small crustaceans such as gammarid amphipods and harpacticoid copepods (e.g. Kendrick and Hyndes 2005, Valladares et al. 2016). Like all other seahorses, this species is ovoviviparous and it is the males who brood and subsequently give birth to live young (Foster and Vincent 2004, Smith 2010).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of trade in Hippocampus bargibanti. Although the species is likely attractive for the aquarium trade, they are notoriously hard to find and do not do well in captivity.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by coral reef degradation and loss as a result of coastal development and pollution, destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling and the use of dynamite, ocean acidification, and the effects of climate change including rising sea temperatures and increased storms (Bruno and Selig 2007, Carpenter et al. 2008, De'Ath et al. 2012, Normile 2016). The Muricella spp. that this species inhabits may be buffered to some degree from some of these threats due to their depth.  Further research is needed to determine how Muricella corals are coping with climate change and what effect this has on populations of H. bargibanti.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation actions in place for Hippocampus bargibanti. The entire genus Hippocampus was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2004, and is protected in Australia. The species occurs in more than one protected area (e.g., the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park). Addressing destructive fishing practices and mitigating climate change would be the most effective interventions for conserving this species.

Citation: Pollom, R. 2017. Hippocampus bargibanti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T10060A54904073. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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