The short-snouted sea horse has recently been found by the conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) to be living in the River Thames in London. However, they are typically found in the Mediterranean and around the waters of the Canary Islands. These seahorses have been found in British waters on previous occasions, but it’s the first time they’ve been found in-land and up river and so far away from coastal areas. It is possible that they are using the river as a breeding spot considering that the seahorse that was discovered by the ZSL was a juvenile.
Seahorses are known for their elaborate mating rituals. Every morning, a male and female will come together and perform a dance. Seahorses mate for life and this is thought to act as a way to reinforce their pair bond. They sometimes dance with their tails curled around each other’s and have been known to change color whilst doing so. As well as reinforcing their relationship, the daily dance can allow them to keep a check on the reproductive stage of the other. Unlike other animals, it is the male seahorse that bears the young; one male seahorse is capable of producing over 1,500 offspring in one reproductive period.
It is a positive sign that the seahorse populations are at stable and possibly increasing numbers, and that they are spreading to new locations. This new finding can help to promote efforts to improve water quality and sealife habitat conditions in the Thames, so that we may see a rise in biodiversity in the bustling – and often bare of wildlife – city of London.