Most people don’t realize that seahorses can change color, like chameleons (though without quite as wide a color range), or that these awkward predators survive in the wild largely through camouflage.
Some seahorses like to sit in the open, but many spend their days quietly lurking in a corner of the tank. They’re masters of using geography to their advantage.
We named our male seahorse “Ghillie” because, as a baby, he had protrusions (called cirri) which made him look as if he was wearing a ghillie suit. As he grew, he lost them, though smaller versions have returned since he matured.
My other seahorses gradually grew accustomed to the reef. Ghillie’s mate, Ceti, perches proudly and happily on any convenient surface.
Ghillie, however, prefers to hide.
He hides in the anthelia coral.
He hides behind the sea fans.
Recently, he’s taken to hiding behind a pinkish faviid I’m growing out.
Ghillie’s shyness is normal for his gender. Male seahorses brood the young, so they tend to be more secretive than the females. Since Ghillie has carried broods to term, he’s aware of the need to protect himself–and his offspring–from danger.
Not that any danger exists on the reef, but apparently you can never be too careful.