Seahorses hunt by stealth

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Seahorses hunt by stealth

November 30, 2013 - 20:51

Seahorses may be slow swimmers yet capture evasive prey using a technique known as the ‘pivot’ feeding

Satomi's pygmy seahorse

This feeding mode involves rapid movement to overcome prey escape capabilities and only functions only at short range.

The secret behind approaching very close to sensitive prey without triggering an escape lies in shape of its head and in particular the snout.

When copepods which seahorses prey on. detect waves from an approaching predator they jolt away at incredible speeds. The seahorse's snout is shaped to minimise the disturbance of water in front of its mouth before it strikes. Above and in front of its nostrils is a "no wake zone" and it angles its head precisely to attack its prey.

The need to approach prey with stealth may have selected for a head shape that produces lower hydrodynamic disturbance than other fish.

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