Threatened Species

Cape seahorse. (Brian Granwicke)

Knysna 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 Scientific Name Common Name 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
Estuarine
pipefish
CR logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl  S. Africa
capensis Hippocampus
capensis

Boulenger,
1900
Knysna
seahorse
EN icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl S. Africa
h.whitei_sm H. whitei
Bleeker,
1855
White’s seahorse EN icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Solomon Islands, E. Australia
h-waleananus Microphis pleurostictus
(Peters,
1868)
EN logo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia (freshwater)
h-waleananus Cosmocampus balli
(Fowler,
1925)
VU logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Pacific- Hawaiian islands
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.comes_sm H. comes
Cantor, 1849
Tiger tail
seahorse
VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia
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.mohnikei_sm H. mohnikei
Bleeker, 1853
Japanese seahorse VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Japan & Korea to Thailand
h-waleananus H. patagonicus
Piacentino & Luzzatto, 2004
Patagonian seahorse VU icon_iseahorselogo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Brazil to Argentina
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 Indostomus crocodilus  Britz & Kottelat 1999
Armoured stickleback VU logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia
(peat swamps)
h.waleananus Microphis insularis
(Hora, 1925)
Andaman
pipefish
 VU logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl India

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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