Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium is unveiling a new ‘stable’ of seahorse displays.
The North Tyneside attraction has been re-developing a small area of the aquarium in to a specialist seahorse zone which will be home to three different species from around the world.
The lined seahorse lives in the Atlantic Ocean as far north as Canada and as far south as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Depending on where they live the species can display a huge range in colouration; ranging from dark grey and black to red, green and even orange.
Found throughout south east Asia, Australia, Japan and Hawaii the spotted seahorse gets its common name from the tiny spotted markings which cover its body.
The tiger tail seahorse lives in the Western Central Pacific and gets its name for the stripy markings on its body which reputedly resemble those of a tiger.
All three are officially listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN red list of threatened species.
A ‘Vulnerable’ species is one which has been categorised as likely to become ‘Endangered’ unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
Blue Reef Aquarium’s Displays Supervisor Terry McKeone said: “Seahorses are among the most popular types of fish we have on display here.
“The plan is for us to create a special seahorse zone, which will not only be home to all three species, but will also contain information and facts about seahorses in general, the threats they face in the wild and how we can all help to protect them.
“We are also hoping to create captive breeding populations here for all three species,” added Terry.
In the wild virtually all of the approximate 35 species of seahorse are now under threat from a variety of sources.
These include loss of habitat, pollution, the souvenir trade and traditional Far East medicine – believed to account for the deaths of more than 20 million seahorses annually.