Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses, From Myth to Reality

By Helen Scales

A interesting trip with the ocean creature that has captured human mind's eye for hundreds of thousands of years

Poseidon?s Steed trails the seahorse via secluded waters around the globe in a kaleidoscopic historical past that mirrors man?s centuries-old fascination with the animal, sweeping from the reefs of Indonesia, in the course of the again streets of Hong Kong, and again in time to old Greece and Rome. over the years, seahorses have surfaced in a few not likely locations. We see them immortalized within the ornamental arts; in tribal folklore, literature, and historic fantasy; or even at the pages of the earliest clinical texts, prescribed to regard every little thing from dermis court cases to baldness to flagging libido. Marine biologist Helen Scales eloquently exhibits that seahorses are certainly fish, notwithstanding scientists have lengthy questioned over their unique anatomy, and their very unusual intercourse lives?male seahorses are the single men within the animal international that have childbirth!

Our first seahorse imaginings seemed six thousand years in the past on cave partitions in Australia. the traditional Greeks referred to as the seahorse hippocampus (half-horse, half-fish) and despatched it galloping in the course of the oceans of mythology, pulling the ocean god Poseidon?s golden chariot. The seahorse has even been the guts of a modern day overseas artwork scandal: A two-thousand-year-old winged seahorse brooch was once plundered through Turkish tomb raiders and offered to the Metropolitan Museum of artwork in New York.

A ebook that's as fascinating because the seahorse itself, Poseidon?s Steed brings to lifestyles an aquatic treasure.

Seahorses lead quiet lives, tucked away out of sight at the seafloor. it's infrequent to seize a glimpse of a seahorse in its normal habitat. yet no matter if few have obvious one stay, those unique, doubtless prehistoric creatures exist relatively vividly in our imaginations they usually have mesmerized scientists, artists, and storytellers all through time with their otherworldly rarity.

Poseidon?s Steed is a sweeping trip that takes us from the coral reefs and seagrass meadows of Indonesia the place many seahorses makes their traditional habitat to the again streets of Hong Kong the place a thriving black marketplace seahorse alternate is hid. all through historical past, seahorses have surfaced in a few unforeseen locations and Scales additionally follows the seahorse again in time, from our such a lot rudimentary seahorse imaginings six thousand years in the past on cave partitions in Australia, to the myths of historical Greece.

Scientists have lengthy questioned over seahorses? strange anatomy and their very unusual intercourse lives. And male seahorses are the single men within the animal international that have childbirth! Seahorses will not be what scientists name a ?keystone? species. They depend upon a fit ocean to outlive, however the marine surroundings doesn't depend on them. yet their tender good looks reminds us that we depend at the seas not just to fill our dinner plates, but additionally to feed our imaginations.

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A pilot scheme in Australia has lately published seahorses into a few of the busiest waters within the kingdom. fifty one The liberated seahorses have been White’s seahorses, one of many many species defined by way of Dutch naturalist Pieter Bleeker within the eighteenth century. He named them after John White, the 1st medical professional basic despatched to the then-British colony of latest South Wales within the 1780s. fifty two White didn’t very similar to Australia yet was once enthusiastic about the natural world he chanced on there, describing many new species in his magazine of a Voyage to New South Wales. He assumed the seahorse he observed there has been a similar one Linnaeus had lately defined from Europe, writing, “This animal, just like the Flying Fish, being generally recognized, an outline isn't valuable. ”53 Seventy years later, Bleeker suggestion in a different way and gave them their very own identify. White’s seahorses live to tell the tale seagrass beds and sponge gardens in a nook of southeast Australia, among Sydney and the small city of Forster 300 kilometers to the north. Like many seahorses, they've got taken a liking to man-made constructions, together with the nets arrange at municipal seashores round Sydney Harbour to cordon off secure swimming parts from boat site visitors and shield swimmers from sharks. no longer lengthy once they are mounted in position, the nets develop into engulfed through sea existence and supply an ideal domestic for the White’s, which prefer to hook their tails at the ropes and conceal between sponges and seaweeds. but if the weight of encrusting plant and animal existence turns into too heavy, the nets cave in and native councils periodically get rid of them, taking the resident seahorse populations with them. encouraged by means of the seahorses’ liking for those man-made nets, researcher David Harasti got here up with a unique solution to support inspire the dwindling seahorse inhabitants. In 2007, according to an concept just like advertisement seahorse ranches, numerous grownup White’s seahorses have been conscientiously faraway from Manly Cove, a northern suburb of Sydney, and transferred to a tank in Sydney Aquarium. There they paired up, danced jointly, mated, and finally produced a shoal of recent child seahorses. yet rather than being offered off to aquarium keepers, after they have been 4 months outdated those seahorses have been taken again and published onto the Manly Cove swimming internet. The desire used to be that by means of enormously bettering the survival fee of child seahorses, the internet inhabitants may get better, and because simply first-generation wild seahorses have been used, there has been no probability of genetic illness. to date, the scan has been a hit, with seven out of thirty published seahorses nonetheless visible usually clinging to the nets six months later; it's was hoping the others easily wandered off into within reach seagrasses. Harasti additionally stumbled on that the seahorses are likely to hang around on the backside of the nets, so an noticeable replacement to changing complete nets sooner or later is for divers to wash off the pinnacle sections, leaving development reduce down for the ocean horses to nestle in. while all is related and performed, it wouldn’t be life like to consider restocking huge parts of sea with sea horses, yet small-scale initiatives like this may play a big half in elevating peoples’ understanding of seahorses.

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