What Do Seahorses Look Like?

4 min read

Seahorses are actually a fish even though they don’t look like your typical run-of-the-mill fish like Nemo or Dory.

They actually have a very unique appearance compared to any animal which is what sets them apart. I guess you can say that a seahorse is in a class by itself because they don’t look like anything but a seahorse.

A seahorse gets its name from its long neck and head that look like a horse even though a seahorse is a fish. A seahorse also has a long thin tail similar to a monkey. There are over 50 species of seahorses and they all look somewhat similar but with different colors, ranging in size from the smallest at an average of 1.38 cm or .54 inches of an inch to the largest seahorse ever recorded at 36 cm or 14.17 inches.

Wow! Seahorses are fascinating creatures to look at so let’s explore what some of the different species of seahorses look like…

What Does a Dwarf Seahorse Look Like?

The Dwarf Seahorse only averages between 2-2.5 centimeters so it is a tiny seahorse.

The dwarf seahorse is found along the Bahamas and parts of the U.S. It only swims 5 ft per hour so it is in the record books for being the slowest moving fish.


What Does a Short-Snouted Seahorse Look Like?

Obviously, it has a short and can grow up to up to 15 cm in length or 5.9 inches.


What Does a Long-Snouted Seahorse Look Like?

It is known for its long snout and can grow up to a max of 6.9 inches (17.5 cm) in height.


What Does a Lined Seahorse Look Like?

So-named because dark lines grow on its head and back and are found in the Chesapeake Bay. It grows 5-6 inches but can grow up to 8 inches.


What Does a Big-Belly Seahorse Look Like?

Big-belly seahorses are renowned for their big belly even when they aren’t pregnant. They can grow up to 7 inches (18 cm), making them one of the largest seahorses. They are found in Australia.


What Does a Yellow Seahorse Look Like?

Also known as the common seahorse, they grow to 17-30 cm.


What Does a Spiny Seahorse Look Like?

Also known as the thorny seahorse. Spiny seahorses are found in the Indo-PAcifisc and can grow to a maximum length of 15–17 cm.


What Does a Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse Look Like?

Used to be recorded as the smallest seahorse until Satomi’s Pygmy Seahorse was found. Denise’s pygmy seahorse is one of the smallest seahorses and is found in the Western Pacific.


What Does a Tiger Tail Seahorse Look Like?

The Tiger Tail Seahorse is found in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It can grow to a maximum size of 6 inches.

TigerTailSeahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

What Does a White’s Seahorse Look Like?

White’s seahorse is found in the Southwest Pacific, from Sydney, New South Wales and southern Queensland to the Solomon Islands. It can grow to a maximum length of 16 cm or 6.29 inches.

Whites Seahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

What Does a Barbour’s Seahorse Look Like?

Found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the Barbour’s seahorse can grow 11–15 centimeters (4.3–5.9 in).

Barbours seahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

What Does a Hedgehog Seahorse Look Like?

Found in the coastal waters of India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and northern Australia, the hedgehog is is so-named because of its thorny body similar to a hedgehog.

HedgeHogSeahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

What Does a Knobby Seahorse Look Like?

Found in Australia, the knobby seahorse can grow to 10 centimeters (3.9 in).

KnobbySeahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

What Does a Tiger Snout Seahorse Look Like?

Found in Australia, the Tiger-Snout Seahorse has tiger colors on its snout and grows to around 5 inches but can grow up to 10 inches.

TigerSnoutSeahorse PetAquariums What Do Seahorses Look Like?

Why Do Seahorses Look Like That?

Seahorses are shaped the way they are so that they can catch their prey easily.

They don’t have a stomach or teeth so they swallow their prey whole and it goes straight to their digestive tract where it is digested quickly. The problem with this is that the food is processed through the seahorses body quickly so a seahorse will eat 30-50 times over day in the wild.

So, a seahorse has 3 unique features that make them look like a horse with no legs and a long monkey like tail:

Long Narrow Snout

Their snout is long and narrow, tapering down at the end so that when prey gets close enough to snatch, the snout can travel through water fast with no resistance.

The seahorse sucks their prey in, like a vacuum, and the snout can expand to wrap around their prey.

S-Shaped Body

The s-shaped body of the seahorse works like a spring in conjunction with their snout.

The s shape allows the seahorse to spring forward from whatever it has its tail wrapped around.

Long Tail

When you look at a seahorse, you might wonder what purpose their long monkey-like tail could serve.

Seahorses are known for hitching to things which means they wrap their tail around things.

A seahorse will wrap their tail around plants, grassor a piece of coral, and wait for passing prey before it springs into action, keeping itself hitched to something while it eats.


A seahorse also has different color pigments in its cells so seahorses can change color to blend in with their background like plants, grass or coral that they hitch themselves to to hunt for food.

This can get a bit confusing as to what their actual color is when they aren’t hunting.


I hope we have fully explained what a seahorse looks like and why so we could satisfy your curiosity. If you liked our seahorse article please come back for more!

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