White's Seahorse, Crowned Seahorse, Sydney Seahorse  |  

Hippocampus whitei

Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list


H. whitei is a small (maximum total length approximately 16 cm), longsnouted seahorse. Morphological characteristics of H. whitei are: dorsal-fin rays 16–17, pectoralfin rays 15–17; tail-rings 33–34; the coronet is high, inclined backwards, and arranged in a fivepointed star at the apex; spines are variable ranging from low to moderately developed and from round to quite sharp and it has a long snout with sharp eye spines. The species is highly variable in colour with their colouration known to change depending on the habitat they are found occurring in. The species is known to live in the wild for up to 5-6 years.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • IUCN Red List Assessment, Hippocampus whitei

    The species is threatened through much of its range by ongoing coral reef degradation and loss through coastal development; pollution; and the effects of climate change.

    Threats (see Appendix for additional information) Hippocampus zebra is threatened by coral reef habitat loss due to coastal development and pollution; destructive fishing practices such as trawling; ocean acidification; and the effects of climate change including increased sea surface temperatures and storm frequency (Carpenter et al. 2008; De’Ath et al. 2012; Normile 2016; Hughes et al. 2017).

    The species and its coral habitat would likely benefit from international efforts to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.

    One third of reef building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts.

    Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals.