Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rare seahorses fly in to capital

The big bellied species can give birth to up to 700 baby seahorses Six rare Australian big belly seahorses have arrived in Edinburgh to form part of a new captive breeding programme at an aquarium. The seahorses were transported by aeroplane from Southampton to be taken to their new home at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry in Fife. There are already four big bellied seahorses kept in the aquarium. The new additions were packaged in seawater in plastic bags with oxygen added to support them on the journey. They have been transported in a polystyrene box to help to maintain the cooler temperatures that the species are kept in. 'Wonderful creatures' Michael Morris, an aquarist from Deep Sea World, said it was important to source captive-bred specimens to eliminate any need to remove animals from the wild. He said an aquarist from the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth - where the sextet were bred - accompanied the seahorses on their journey. Blue Reef aquarium employee Zahra D'aronvlle with a big belly seahorse "We hope to continue Blue Reef's success in breeding these wonderful creatures and to eventually help supply other zoos and aquariums around the country," he added. Big bellied seahorses live around Australia, generally in the cooler water regions, and are usually found around areas of sea grass and kelp not much deeper than about 12m. They are one of the largest species of seahorse in the world, getting their name from their swollen bellies, and can grow to about 25cm long.

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