Hippocampus subelongatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Hippocampus subelongatus Castelnau, 1873
Common Name(s):
English West Australian Seahorse, Tiger Snout Seahorse
Hippocampus elongatus Castelnau, 1873
Taxonomic Source(s): Lourie, S.A., Vincent, A.C.J. and Hall, H.J. 1999. Seahorses: an identification guide to the world's species and their conservation. Project Seahorse, London, U.K.
Taxonomic Notes: Although the names Hippocampus subelongatus and H. elongatus were first described in the same document, there are apparently no type specimens for H. elongatus, and thus Hippocampus subelongatus is the proper name (Lourie et al. 1999, Eschmeyer et al. 2017).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-25
Assessor(s): Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G.
Hippocampus subelongatus is a coastal seahorse that inhabits rocky reefs, muddy substrates, algae, and human-made structures in southwestern Australia. It is collected for the aquarium trade, but the effects of this collection on the persistence of the population is debated.
In addition to exploitation for the aquarium trade, localised coastal habitat degeneration is a potential threat to the species. This species is however a habitat specialist, occurs in several protected areas, and is protected from exploitation throughout its range. Therefore Hippocampus subelongatus is listed as Data Deficient. Further research is needed throughout this species' range in order to make a proper assessment.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hippocampus subelongatus is a southwestern Australian endemic, occurring from the Abrolhos Islands to Rockingham, Western Australia (Lourie et al. 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
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):25
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:To date there have been no dedicated surveys or population estimates for Hippocampus subelongatus. Further research is needed in order to determine population size and trends in abundance for this species.

Glenn Moore (cited in Lourie et al. 1999) reported that numbers recently declined substantially in the Swan River near Perth due to over-collecting for aquaria. However, Kuiter (2000) believes that the number of specimens collected for the aquarium trade is "minuscule compared to the wild population" and that fluctuation in the Swan River is due to seasonal conditions and not to collecting.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Hippocampus subelongatus is found on rocky reefs, estuaries with muddy bottoms, seagrasses, and areas of high sediment load, macroalgae, and it is often associated with sponges or sea squirts or attached to man-made objects (Lourie et al. 1999, Pogonoski et al. 2002, Kuiter 2009). They have been reported to occur at depths of 1 to 25 m and to move to deeper waters in winter (Lourie et al. 1999).

Little is known about their feeding, but they likely consume planktonic and/or benthic crustaceans such as harpacticoid and cyclopoid, and calanoid copepods, gammarid and caridean shrimps, and mysids similar to other members of the genus (Kendrick and Hyndes 2005, Valladares et al. 2016).

Like other seahorses, this species is ovoviviparous and males brood the young in a pouch prior to giving live birth (Foster and Vincent 2004).

Seahorses in general may be particularly susceptible to decline. All seahorse species have vital parental care and many species studied to date have high site fidelity (Perante et al. 2002, Vincent et al. 2005), highly structured social behaviour (Vincent and Sadler 1995), and relatively sparse distributions (Lourie et al. 1999).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hippocampus subelongatus is wild-caught and traded live in Australia and as an export, but levels of offtake are thought to be low (Martin-Smith and Vincent 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is collected for the aquarium trade, but the effects of this collection on the persistence of populations is debated. In addition to exploitation for the aquarium trade, localised coastal habitat degeneration is a potential threat to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for Hippocampus subelongatus. This species was moved under the Australian Wildlife Protection Act in 1998. It is protected across its range by the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). It is listed on CITES Appendix II.

Citation: Pollom, R. 2017. Hippocampus subelongatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T40773A54906710. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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