Their maximized size is 18.5 cm, however at 12 cm they are sexually mature. The species is known to develop elaborate skin fronds and males have proportionally longer tails than do females. Hippocampus erectus is one of 44 species listed by the IUCN. It is considered vulnerable due to its use in medicinal trade and pet aquarium trade. Live trade is mainly per black market . The dried seahorses are ground and consumed in drink as a folk medicine for a number of diseases including asthma, alcoholism, thromboses, bronchitis, impotence, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and rheumatism. This is especially true in traditional Chinese medicine. Threatened by being caught as bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries and by being targeted for the aquarium trade. The preferred habitats of H. erectus is declining due to coastal development, pollution, destructive fishing practices such as trawling and increased sedimentation. Full monitoring of the trade of H. erectus was implemented in 2004, but it is dependent on traders’ declarations.
Location: Aquatics Exhibits
Hippocampus erectus is distributed in the western Atlantic from the southern tip of Nova Scotia, Canada, south along the east coast of the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea to Bahia, Brazil.
These seahorses live in water up to 100 meters and are associated with aquatic vegetation such as mangroves, seagrass, as well as coral, rocky and oyster reef habitats, and sponges. They can be found at the surface and bottom of both shallow water and deeper areas of channels in bays, along beaches, in or near salt marshes, anchialine lakes, and over oyster beds and weed-covered banks.
20 – 21 days. Breeding occurs between May to October
Average brood size for them is 250 to 300 eggs, which then are deposited into the brood pouch of the male. Newborns are released by ejection from the brood pouch by body contortions and pumping action of the pouch.
They have vital parental care and high site fidelity. Their social behavior is highly structured social behavior.
Hippocampus erectus is ovoviviparous, and males brood the young in a pouch prior to giving live birth. They become mature during the first reproductive season after birth at six to twelve months of age.
There is little known about their feeding, but it is believed that they eat mysids, amphipods, copepods, and gammarid shrimps.