Aquaculture International

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 175–186 | Cite as

Evaluation of VI-alpha and PIT-tagging of the seahorse Hippocampus abdominalis

  • Chris M. C. Woods


The suitability of visible implant alphanumeric (VI-alpha) and passive integrated transponder (PIT)-tagging to individually identify seahorses (Hippocampus abdominalis) was assessed in two trials. For each trial, 24 seahorses were tagged and mortality, growth, tag retention and tag visibility/readability assessed, together with 24 control seahorses, over a period of 3 months. For VI-alpha tagging, a single tag was inserted under the skin between the first two anterior lateral tail rings of the seahorses. There was no difference in final seahorse length, wet weight, or mean SGR in tagged seahorses, compared with control seahorses, after 3 months. Tag retention was 100%, as was survival, in both treatments. Tag detection with the naked eye was generally poor but improved using LED blue light. However, readability of tag codes was highly variable and insufficiently reliable for VI-alpha to be suitable for identification of individual seahorses. In PIT-tagged seahorses, a single FDX-B transponder was inserted into the abdominal cavity of seahorses. There was also no difference in final seahorse length, wet weight, or mean SGR, compared with control seahorses, after 3 months. Tag retention was also 100%, as was survival in both treatments. Readability of transponders was reliable and quick using a compact reader. PIT-tagging is considered suitable for individual identification of large H. abdominalis.


Growth LED blue light PIT Syngnathid Tag retention VI-alpha 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Water & Atmospheric ResearchKilbirnieNew Zealand

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