Hippocampus coronatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Hippocampus coronatus Temminck & Schlegel, 1850
Common Name(s):
English High-crowned Seahorse, Crowned Seahorse
Taxonomic Source(s): Temminck, C.J. and Schlegel, H. 1850. Pisces. In: F. Siebold (ed.), Fauna Japonica sive descriptio animalium, quae in itinere per Japoniam, jussu et auspiciis superiorum, qui summum in india batava imperium tenent suscepto, annis 1823-1830 collegit, notis, observationibus et adumbrationibus illustravit., pp. 270-324. Regis Auspiciis, Lugdini Batavorum.
Taxonomic Notes: The name H. coronatus has often been applied to H. sindonis in the past. Morphometric (Lourie et al. 1999) and genetic (Mukai et al. 2000) research suggest that these two are not the same species. Mukai et al.’s (2000) data also suggest that H. coronatus is distinct from H. mohnikei.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-10-21
Assessor(s): Zhang, X. & Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Masonjones, H. & Ralph, G.
Hippocampus coronatus is assessed as Data Deficient. There are no published data about population trends or total numbers of mature animals for this species. The species is threatened by the loss and degradation of seagrass habitat due to coastal development, pollution, and destructive fishing practices such as trawling, however none of these have been quantified across the range. Lack of information on population trends and habitat data for the region contribute to uncertainty.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hippocampus coronatus inhabits shallow coastal waters, from Hokkaido to Kyushu in Japan, and southern South Korea, including northwestern Kamakman Bay, Yeosu, and Dongdae Bay (Nakabo 2000, Choi et al. 2012, Huh et al. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Japan; Korea, Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme 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):20
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


To date there have been few dedicated surveys or population estimates for Hippocampus coronatus. In Yeosu, Korea, there was a density of 2.9 seahorses/km2 in the mid-2000s (Choi et al. 2012). In Dongdae Bay, Korea, 164 individuals were caught over a one-year period (2006-2007), although effort was not quantified (Huh et al. 2014). There are no published population studies from the Japanese portion of the range. 

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 coronatus are found in shallow coastal habitats covered by Sargassum and Zostera (Masuda et al. 1984, Choi et al. 2012, Huh et al. 2014, Park and Kwak 2015).

As in other members of the genus Hippocampus, it is the males that give birth to live young (Foster and Vincent 2004). The breeding season for this species occurs from June to November (Masuda et al. 1984, Park and Kwak 2015). According to a recent population study in South Korea, size at first maturity for females and males, respectively, was 6.93 and 7.33 cm in length (Park and Kwak 2014). The total number of eggs ranged from 56 to 163 with mature eggs from 4 to 56, and the number of brood in the pouches of males ranged from 12 to 46. Population density ranged from 0 to 6.5 individuals per 1, 000 m², and averaged at 2.9 ± 0.6. The population abundance was also found to be significantly correlated with water temperature (Park and Kwak 2015.

According to Huh et al. (2014), H. coronatus mainly feeds on gammarid amphipods and copepods. Its diet also included a small portion of of mysids, ostracods, brachiopods, caprellid amphipods, bathynellaceas, isopods, tanaids, and ascothoracids. The dietary habit is size-related, with smaller individuals consuming copepods, and the larger feeding on gammarid amphipods and mysids. The dietary breadth index was increased with increasing body size.

This species, like other seahorses, may be particularly susceptible to decline. The limited information on habitat suggests they inhabit shallow seagrass beds (Masuda et al. 1984, Park and Kwak 2015) that are subject to human pressures. 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:Yes
Movement patterns:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hippocampus coronatus has been observed in the aquarium trade and in bycatch. Seahorses are traded heavily for traditional medicine, especially in China (Foster and Vincent 2004). Project Seahorse trade surveys conducted between 2000–2001 indicated that the trade in H. coronatus appears to be quite small (B. Kwan unpublished data). It is not targeted in any fishery, but it may be caught incidentally in other fisheries (B. Kwan unpublished data, Park and Kwak 2015).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hippocampus coronatus is not targeted in a fishery, and levels of trade in this species appear to be low. Seagrass habitats are threatened in the area by coastal development and subsequent pollution, as well as by destructive fishing methods such as trawling (Lee et al. 2002). The scope and severity of these threats and how they are impacting the species have not been quantified, but are not thought to approach threshold levels that would indicate a threatened status for H. coronatus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The entire genus Hippocampus was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2004. This species occurs in at least one protected area. Further research on species biology and population size are needed. Population size, harvest trends, and habitat health need to be monitored in order to assure this species' conservation.

Citation: Zhang, X. & Pollom, R. 2016. Hippocampus coronatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T10065A54904583. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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