In situ observation of Denise’s pygmy seahorse Hippocampus denise associated with a gorgonian coral Annella reticulata at Osprey Reef, Australia
December 13, 2011

Authors: Nishikawa, J., Fitzpatrick, R., Reimer, J.D., Beaman, R.J., Yamamoto, H., Lindsay, D.J.

Year: 2011

Publication: Galaxea, Journal of Coral Reef Studies 13(1), 25-26. doi: 10.3755/galaxea.13.25


Hippocampus denise, one of the world’s smallest seahorses, was described from Indonesia and appears to be relatively widespread in the West Pacific (Lourie and Randall 2003). The widespread occurrence of this species has been recorded in books, dive magazines and on the internet (e.g. Kuiter 2000), and recently the occurrence of this species was reported from Holmes Reef (Coral Sea) based on samples collected, together with gorgonians Villogorgia sp. from a depth of ~100 m (Foster et al. 2012).

Biological and ecological data on this species are, however, very limited as well as in situ observations of this species at such great depths. Underwater observations using a high-definition video camera on the untethered remotely operated vehicle, PICASSO-1, enabled us to confirm the occurrence of this species at Osprey Reef, a Coral Sea atoll in Australian waters, the first in situ record from this isolated oceanic reef.


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