Threatened Species

Cape seahorse. (Brian Granwicke)

Cape seahorse. (Brian Granwicke)

Like most other species, both terrestrial and marine, seahorses, pipefishes, sticklebacks, and their relatives face many threats, including habitat loss, pollution, climate change, invasive species, and direct exploitation in the form of overfishing and bycatch.

The extent of these threats vary from species to species.  We know, for example, that the Cape seahorse (H. capensis) is endangered, owing to the fact that its geographical range is limited to a few South African estuaries, where human activity encroaches on its habitat. We can say conclusively that the other species on the list below are also threatened with extinction.

It should be noted, however, that many of the 350 or so species under our remit may also be threatened. For now, we simply do not yet have enough information to determine their conservation statuses. Our goal, as the IUCN SPS SG, is to assess every single species of seahorse, pipefish, stickleback, and their relatives and spur conservation action where it’s needed.

To take action yourself to help protect these species and for ocean conservation see our Taking Action section!

Photo Species name Common name(s) IUCN Red List status Species profile Range
h.waleananus Pungitius hellenicus
(Stephanidis, 1971)
Greek
Ninespine stickleback
CR logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Greece (freshwater)
h.waleananus Syngnathus watermeyeri
(Smith, 1963)
River
pipefish
CR logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl  S. Africa
capensis Hippocampus
capensis

(Boulenger,
1900)
Cape
seahorse
EN icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl S. Africa
h.comes_sm H. comes
(Cantor, 1849)
Tiger tail
seahorse
VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia
h.waleananus  Indostomus crocodilus Armoured stickleback VU  logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia
(peat swamps)
Pegasus_laternarius_Izuzuki_CCBYSA3.0  Pegasus laternarius
Brick
seamoth
VU  logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl SE/E Asia
h.algiricus_sm H. algiricus
(Kaup, 1856)
West African
seahorse
VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl W. Africa
h.barbouri_sm H. barbouri
(Jordan &
Richardson, 1908)
Barbour’s
seahorse
VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
h.erectus_sm H. erectus
(Perry, 1810)
Lined
seahorse
VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl W. Atlantic
h.histrix_sm H. histrix
(Kaup, 1856)
Thorny
seahorse
 VU  icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl W. Indian Ocean
to Central Pacific
h.ingens_sm  H. ingens
(Girard, 1858)
Pacific
seahorse
VU  icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl California to
Peru
h.kelloggi_sm H. kelloggi
(Jordan &
Snyder, 1901)
Great
seahorse
 VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific to
E. Africa to
China &
Australia
h.kuda_sm H. kuda
(Bleeker, 1852)
Spotted
seahorse
 VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
h.spinosissimus_sm  H. spinosissimus (Weber, 1913) Hedgehog
seahorse
VU  icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
h.trimaculatus_sm H. trimaculatus
(Leach, 1814)
Three-spot
seahorse
VU  icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
h.waleananus Oostethus insularis
(Hora, 1925)
Andaman
pipefish
 VU logo_eolGBIFurl India
 VanacampVercoi Vanacampus vercoi
(Waite & Hale,
1921)
Flinder’s pipefish,
little pipefish
 VU  logo_eolGBIFurl S. Australia

IUCN Red List key: 

EX=Extinct EW=Extinct in the Wild CR=Critically Endangered EN=Endangered VU=Vulnerable NT=Near Threatened LC=Least Concern DD=Data Deficient NE=Not Evaluated

(Click here for a full explanation of IUCN Red List categories.)

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