Sunday, April 20, 2008

Seahorses in the Thames

a short-snouted seahorseThe Zoological Society of London have revealed that a number of short-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus hippocampus) have recently been discovered in the Thames during routine conservation surveys. This was back in April 2006, but they kept quiet about it because the creatures were not covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Now they are and we can all revel in the news that the Thames water quality is improving.

Short-snouted seahorses are commonly found around Africa and the Mediterranean and only occasionally near the southern coasts of Britain. Their usual habitat is shallow coastal waters rich in weeds and plant life, although they can be found as deep as 100ft.
Last year, however, juvenile seahorses of both the short-snouted and long-snouted species were found in the marina at Brighton, East Sussex. This was the first evidence to suggest the fish were actually breeding in British waters.

Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programme Manager, Alison Shaw, said: “These amazing creatures have been found in the Thames on a number of occasions in the last 18 months during our regular wildlife monitoring work. It demonstrates that the Thames is becoming a sustainable biodiverse habitat for aquatic life. It is not clear how endangered short-snouted seahorses are because there is little data known, particularly in the UK, so every scrap of information is valuable.”

And they’re off: seahorses reach Thames

Seahorses thriving in cleaner river Thames, scientists say

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