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Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Seahorse Magic

With googly eyes, monkey-like tails and fluttery fins, seahorses have captivated humans for centuries. Now visitors to UCSD’s Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institu­tion of Oceanography can experience an up-close encounter with these fascinating animals in a new exhibit, There’s Something About Seahorses.

The aquarium features more than a dozen species of seahorses and their relatives, including pipefish and seadragons. The interactive exhibit explores the unique biology and adaptations of the famously camouflaged creatures, including the amazing fact that it is the males that give birth.

Got baby fever? Visit a special nursery within the exhibit with newborn seahorses smaller than a pencil eraser. For more than 15 years, Birch Aquarium has been one of the most successful breeders of seahorses onsite, reducing the need for other zoos and aquariums to make collections in the wild.

“Seahorses are one of the most beloved animals in the ocean, but they’re also one of the most threatened,” says Nigella Hillgarth, aquarium executive director. “We hope this exhibit inspires not only a deep affection for seahorses, but also a desire to protect them.”

There’s Something About Seahorses will remain open until 2011. For more information, visit aquarium.ucsd.edu.

óJessica Crawford