In the wild, seahorses are masters of disguise.
Their ability to change color – and even shift the patterns on their plated skins – enables them to lie in wait for prey.
Since seahorses have no real defenses (and few offensive skills aside from the powerful “snick” they use to suck in food) camouflage is the seahorse’s first (and only) option, for hunting and for self-defense.
Many seahorse-keepers “lose” their fish from time to time. I’m no exception.
Cygnus and Ceti, my mated pair, tend to stay near the top of the tank and usually hitch to tubes and other inert objects. It’s not hard to tell the seahorse from the powerhead:
But Ghillie, the smaller male, is another story.
True to his name, Ghillie lives for camouflage. He’s always finding new ways to “disappear” in his environment. At first glance, the shot below contains a colony of anthelia and another of yellow clove polyps, with a sun coral off to the right:
A closer look seems very much the same (unless you see the eye and the nose between the anthelia fronds):
The first time Ghillie hid here, I didn’t see him at all until he popped his head up for his dinner.
It’s since become a favorite hiding place – in fact, he’s hiding there as I type this – and every time he pops back out, he seems to think he’s pulled a fantastic joke.
Have you ever had a pet that hides and surprises you? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments…