Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Hippocampus camelopardalis
Species Authority: Bianconi, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Giraffe Seahorse
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: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Project Seahorse
Reviewer(s): Marsden, A.D., Foster, S.J. & Vincent, A.C.J. (Syngnathid Red List Authority)
There are no published data about population trends or total numbers of mature animals for this species. There is very little available information about its extent of occurrence or its area of occupancy. There have been no quantitative analyses examining the probability of extinction of this species. As a result, the assessors have insufficient data to properly assess the species against any of the IUCN criteria.

Hippocampus camelopardalis previously was listed in 1996 as Vulnerable (VU A2cd) under old criteria. This assessment was based on suspected past declines in occupancy, occurrence and habitat, as well as on potential levels of exploitation. In reassessing the species under the new criteria and with greater taxonomic understanding we find that no appropriate data on biology and ecology, habitat, abundance or distribution are available for this species. Further research is needed. Assessed as Data Deficient under the new criteria.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Vulnerable (VU)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Mozambique; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species 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. in review), highly structured social behaviour (Vincent and Sadler 1995), and relatively sparse distributions (Lourie et a. 1999). The importance of life history parameters in determining response to exploitation has been demonstrated for a number of species (Jennings et al. 1998).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hippocampus camelopardalis is caught for traditional medicines, curiosities, and aquaria in Tanzania, but not elsewhere in its range (J. McPherson, unpublished data). A few traders interviewed during trade surveys conducted by Project Seahorse between 2000–2001 noticed local declines in seahorse populations over the last 10–30 years, but most had noticed no change (J. McPherson, unpublished data). The authors conclude that the trade: (1) probably poses no danger to seahorses in Kenya; (2) may be a cause for concern in Tanzania; and (3) is insufficiently known to draw conclusions in South Africa or Mozambique.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The entire genus Hippocampus was listed in Appendix II of CITES in November 2002. Implementation of this listing will begin May 2004. A permit or license is required to export dried or live syngnathids from South Africa. Further research on this species biology, ecology, habitat, abundance and distribution is needed.

Classifications [top]

0. Root -> 18. Unknown
suitability: Suitable  
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.6. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population 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.

IUCN. 2003. 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 18 November 2003.

Jennings, S., Reynolds, J.D. and Mills, S.C. 1998. Life history correlates of responses to fisheries exploitation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 265:333-339.

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.

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. Accepted by Journal of Fish Biology. 2001.

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 range behaviour of the monogamous Australian seahorse, Hippocampus whitei. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 1–12.

Citation: Project Seahorse. 2003. Hippocampus camelopardalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T10064A3158705. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided