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Hippocampus camelopardalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_onStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Hippocampus camelopardalis Bianconi, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Giraffe Seahorse
French Cheval de mer, Hippocampe
Synonym(s):
Hippocampus subcoronatus Günther,1867
Taxonomic Source(s): Lourie, S.A., Pollom, R.A. and Foster, S.J. 2016. A global revision of the seahorses Hippocampus Rafinesque 1810 (Actinopterygii: Syngnathiformes): Taxonomy and biogeography with recommendations for future research. Zootaxa 4146(1): 1-66.
Taxonomic Notes: References to H. whitei off the east coast of Africa should be H. camelopardalis. Genetic data indicate that this species is distinct from H. whitei in Australia (S. Casey in litt. to Lourie et al. 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-17
Assessor(s): Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G.
Justification:
Hippocampus camelopardalis is a coastal seahorse that inhabits estuaries, seagrasses, and reefs. There are no published data about population trends or total numbers of mature animals for this species, and little is known about the relative importance of their various habitats. The species is known to be targeted and caught as bycatch to be traded for curios, aquarium use, and traditional medicines, and some fishers have reported declines, but levels of offtake are unknown. Further research and monitoring is needed in order to determine population size and trends, harvest levels, and how coral and seagrass habitat declines are affecting the species. Therefore Hippocampus camelopardalis is listed as Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hippocampus camelopardalis inhabits waters off the south and east coasts of Africa from False Bay, South Africa to Zanzibar, Tanzania (Lourie et al. 1999), and possibly further north to Mombasa, Kenya (McPherson and Vincent 2004). The species may also occur in Mauritius (Fricke 1999), although that specimen may have been purchased in South Africa (GBIF 2016). A recent record from the Gulf of Kachchh in India needs to be investigated to determine whether that specimen is from an established subpopulation or if it was a vagrant carried there by ocean currents (Subburuman et al. 2014, Lourie 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Mozambique; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape); Tanzania, United Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
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):45
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 H. camelopardalis. Fishers reported declines during interviews in 2000-2001 (J. McPherson, unpublished data). Further research is needed in order to determine population size and trends in abundance for this species.
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 camelopardalis inhabits estuarine seagrass and algae beds and shallow reefs (Kuiter 2000). Little is known about its diet, but it likely consumes small crustaceans such as harpacticoid copepods, gammarid shrimps, and mysids similar to other syngnathids (Kendrick and Hyndes 2005). Seahorses are ovoviviparous, and the males carry the embryos in a brood pouch prior to giving live birth (Foster and Vincent 2004). 
Seahorses in general may be particularly susceptible to decline. All members of the genus exhibit 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).
Systems:Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hippocampus camelopardalis is caught as bycatch and targeted and subsequently traded for curios, the aquarium trade, and traditional medicines (J. McPherson, unpublished data). Levels of offtake are unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hippocampus camelopardalis may be threatened due to seagrass and coral habitat loss due to coastal development, pollution, destructive fishing practices such as trawling and dynamite fishing, ocean acidification, and the effects of climate change including rising sea surface temperatures and increases in storms (Carpenter et al. 2008, Short et al. 2011, Normile 2016). The species is able to utilise other habitat types.

The Giraffe Seahorse is caught as bycatch in artisanal beach and purse seine fisheries and is retained for traditional medicines, curiosities, and aquaria in Tanzania (McPherson and Vincent 2004). A few traders interviewed during surveys conducted between 2000–2001 noticed local declines in seahorse populations over the previous 10–30 years, but most had noticed no change (McPherson and Vincent 2004). This species is also caught in low numbers in commercial trawl fisheries (McPherson and Vincent 2004), but depending on the number of vessels currently fishing in the region this may add up to a substantial amount of offtake, as has been shown in other regions (Lawson et al. 2017).

Population and habitat monitoring are needed in order to properly assess the conservation status of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The entire genus Hippocampus has been listed on Appendix II of CITES since 2004. A permit or license is required to export dried or live syngnathids.  The species likely occurs in at least one marine protected area, including Mafia Island Marine Park. Further research on this species biology, ecology, habitat, abundance and distribution is needed.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
suitability:Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
suitability:Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability:Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Unknown
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.3. Temperature extremes
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.4. Storms & flooding
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.1. Sewage
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.2. Run-off
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.1. Nutrient loads
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.2. Soil erosion, sedimentation
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. pp. 378. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Carpenter, K.E., Abrar, M., Aeby, G., Aronson, R.B., Banks, S., Bruckner, A., Chiriboga, A., Cortes, J., Delbeek, J.C., DeVaniter, L., Edgar, G.J., Edwards, A.J., Fenner, D., Guzman, H.M., Hoeksema, B.W., Hodgson, G., Johan, O., Licuanan, W.Y., Livingstone, S.R., Lovell, E.R., Moore, J.A., Obura, D.A., Ochavillo, D., Polidoro, B.A., Precht, W.F., Quibilan, M.C., Reboton, C., Richards, Z.T., Rogers, A.D., Sanciangco, J., Sheppard, A., Sheppard, C., Smith, J., Stuart, S., Turak, E., Veron, J.E.N., Wallace, C., Weil, E. and Wood, E. 2008. One-third of reef building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science 321(5888): 560-563.

Foster, S.J. and Vincent, A.C.J. 2004. Life history and ecology of seahorses: implications for conservation and management. Journal of Fish Biology 65: 1-61.

Fricke, R. 1999. Fishes of the Mascarene Islands (Réunion, Mauritius, Rodriguez): an annotated checklist, with descriptions of new species.

GBIF. 2016. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Occurrence data for Mitotichthys tuckeri. Available at: http://www.gbif.org/occurrence/473363146. (Accessed: 16-March-2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 7 December 2017).

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives: A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, England.

Lawson, J M., Foster, S.J. and Vincent, A.C.J. 2017. Low bycatch rates add up to big numbers for a genus of small fishes. Fisheries 42(1): 19-33.

Lourie, S.A. 2016. Seahorses: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 160 pp.

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.

McPherson, J. M. & Vincent, A.C.J. 2004. Assessing East African trade in seahorse species as a basis for conservation under international controls. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14: 521-538.

Normile, D. 2016. El Niño’s warmth devastating reefs worldwide. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/el-ni-o-s-warmth-devastating-reefs-worldwide. (Accessed: 21-April-2016).

Perante, N.C., Pajaro, M.G., Meeuwig, J.J. and Vincent, A.C.J. 2002. Biology of a seahorse species Hippocampus comes in the central Philippines. Journal of Fish Biology 60: 821-837.

Short, F.T., Polidoro, B., Livingston, S.R., Carpenter, K.E., Bandeira, S., Bujang, J.S., Calumpong, H.P., Carruthers, T.J.B., Coles, R.G., Dennison, W.C., Erftemeijer, P.L.A., Fortes, M.D., Freeman, A.S., Jagtap, T.G., Kamal, A.H.M., Kendrick, G.A., Kenworthy, W.J., Nafie, Y.A.L., Nasution, I.M., Orth, R.J., Prathep, A., Sanciango, J.C., van Tussenbroek, Vergara, S.G., Waycott, M. and Zieman, J.C. B., 2011. Extinction risk assessment of the world's seagrass species. Biological Conservation 144(7): 1961–1971.

Subburaman, S., Murugan, A., Goutham, S., Kaul, R., Prem Jothi, P. V. R., and Balasubramanian,T. 2014. First distibutional record of the giraffe seahorse, Hippocampus camelopardalis Bianconi 1854 (Family: Syngnathidae) from Gulf of Kachchh waters, North west coast of India. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences 43(3): 408-411.

Vincent, A.C.J. and Sadler, L.M. 1995. Faithful pair bonds in wild seahorses, Hippocampus whitei.. Animal Behaviour 50: 1557-1569.

Vincent, A.C.J., Evans, K.L. and Marsden, A.D. 2005. Home ranges of the monogamous Australian seahorse, Hippocampus whitei. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 1-12.

Vincent, A.C.J., Foster, S.J. and Koldewey, H.J. 2011. Conservation and management of seahorses and other Syngnathidae. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 1681-1724.


Citation: Pollom, R. 2017. Hippocampus camelopardalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T10064A100939136. . Downloaded on 17 December 2017.
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