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Hippocampus alatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII SYNGNATHIFORMES SYNGNATHIDAE

Scientific Name: Hippocampus alatus
Species Authority: Kuiter, 2001
Common Name(s):
English Winged Seahorse, Wing-spined Seahorse
Taxonomic Notes: This species is named alatus, from the Latin alatus, meaning winged, in reference to the paired spines on the superior trunk ridges that are directed outward and have broad dermal flaps, resembling wings (Kuiter 2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-07-31
Assessor(s): Czembor, C.A.
Reviewer(s): Vincent, A. & Kuiter, R.
Contributor(s): Wiswedel, S.
Justification:
This species is known from only a few specimens; no population information is currently available. Although specimens are caught and discarded as bycatch in the shrimp trawl fishery, no trade of the species is recorded. This species is therefore assessed as Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Hippocampus alatus is found in northern Australia from the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, throughout the Gulf of Carpentaria, to the tip of Cape York (Kuiter 2001), as well as south Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (northern Sulawesi) and southern Philippines (Kuiter 2009).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Indonesia (Sulawesi); Papua New Guinea; Philippines
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No information is currently available on population size or trends.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Hippocampus alatus is a benthic species often found on soft bottom habitats (Kuiter 2001). In Papua New Guinea, specimens were found on deep, open sand slopes with few sponges and gorgonian corals in an area that is influenced by strong tidal currents (Kuiter 2001) between reefs and islands (Thompson and Bray 2009). H. alatus is found on remote reefs, on outcrops, slopes with rubble or corals that provide shelter and for a hold, and usually in the deeper current prone channels between reefs or islands (Kuiter 2009).

Like all seahorses the females transfer eggs to the male’s brood pouch (Breder and Rosen 1966). All seahorse species have vital parental care, and many species studied to date have high site fidelity (e.g. Perante et al. 2002), highly structured social behaviour (e.g. Vincent and Sadler 1995), and relatively sparse distributions (Lourie et al. 1999).

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known international trade of H. alatus for the aquarium or Asian traditional medicine industries (Thompson and Bray 2009, Evanson et al. 2011). Specimens are caught as bycatch by the prawn trawl fishery (Thompson and Bray 2009), and these specimens might be either discarded or used locally, as in other seahorse species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): H. alatus are caught and discarded as bycatch by the prawn trawl fishery (Kuiter 2001, Thompson and Bray 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: International: Listed under Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITIES).

Australian Government Legislation: Marine Listed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which ensures a government permit to export this species (Department of the Environment and Heritage 2000).

Citation: Czembor, C.A. 2012. Hippocampus alatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
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