Journal of Ethology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 219–225 | Cite as

Feeding behavior of the longsnout seahorse Hippocampus reidi Ginsburg, 1933

  • Ana Karina C. Felício
  • Ierecê L. RosaEmail author
  • Antonio Souto
  • Renato H. A. Freitas


Hippocampus reidi is a threatened species and one of the most heavily traded seahorses in the aquarium trade. Nevertheless, little is known about its biology and ecology. This study encompasses the first description of the feeding behavior of H. reidi, with emphasis on preferred feeding time, feeding frequency, feeding behavior during nonreproductive and reproductive periods, and prey choice. Underwater observations were made in NE Brazil from May 2003 to September 2004, and the behavior of 57 specimens was recorded during 118 feeding events. In the laboratory, 8 specimens and 176 feeding events were recorded. Prey choice was tested among carideans, amphipods, live and frozen brine shrimp, with the most consumed prey being the caridean Hyppolyte curacoensis. H. reidi fed both at diurnal and crepuscular hours, its feeding frequency being directly proportional to luminous intensity. No feeding was observed at night. Males with a fully developed pouch exhibited a significantly higher feeding frequency than nonreproductive males. H. reidi generally is a “sit-and-wait” predator that occasionally pursues prey.


Hippocampus reidi Feeding behavior Feeding preference Brazil Seahorse 



To Project Aware Foundation for funding. To CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for providing a fellowship to the first and second authors, respectively. To Dr. Martin Lindsen Christoffersen for identification of the caridean shrimp and to M.Sc. João Henrique Barboza for identification of amphipods. To Luis Carlos Damasceno and M.Sc. Thelma Dias for their fundamental support during field observations. To IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Renováveis) for issuing the research permit and for providing accommodation during the field work at the APA Barra do Rio Mamanguape. To all colleagues who helped with the collection of prey. We are grateful to Ricardo Rosa and Virgínia Sanches Uieda for providing comments on the manuscript. This paper is part of the senior author’s MS Thesis presented at Universidade Federal da Paraíba, and of a larger research project, originally funded by PROBIO/MMA/IBRD/GEF/CNPq.


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Karina C. Felício
    • 1
  • Ierecê L. Rosa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio Souto
    • 2
  • Renato H. A. Freitas
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Peixes-Ecologia e Conservação (LAPEC), Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, CCENUniversidade Federal da ParaíbaJoão PessoaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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