Monogamous seahorses have small home range

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Both sexes of the monogamous seahorse species Hippocampus whitei have small, undefended home ranges in seagrass habitats, says new research published today.

A team of seahorse experts, headed by Amanda Vincent of Project Seahorse at the University of British Columbia, studied the behaviour of H. whitei around Port Jackson, Sydney Harbour, Australia.

The fish, which lives here among beds of Posidonia seagrass, appeared to maintain small and apparently undefended home ranges for several breeding cycles during the study period from January to March.

Vincent's team, who report their findings in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes, said that home ranges weren't linked to body size or seahorse density either.

They assume that the small home ranges in whitei occur because mate fidelity, parental brooding and camouflage, meant that they gained little benefit from moving around.

For more details see the paper: Amanda C. J. Vincent, Karl L. Evans and A. Dale Marsden (2005) - Home range behaviour of the monogamous Australian seahorse, Hippocampus whitei. Environmental Biology of Fishes. Issue: Volume 72, Number 1.