21 Facts About The Barbour's Seahorse You'll Never Forget!

Discover fascinating Barbour's seahorse facts about its feeding, body, reproduction, and more!

Looking to dig deeper into the sea world of seahorses? Here we bring you an insight into the world of this fascinating creature! The Barbour's seahorse, (scientific name Hippocampus barbouri), is a seahorse that is a member of the family Syngnathidae and the genus Hippocampus. This species is widely traded for in aquarium trading as well as for traditional medicinal practices! It is found in  Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It feeds upon small shrimp, crustaceans, calanoid copepods, decapod larvae, and the larvae of polychaetes and fish. Its conservation status is Vulnerable as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. This is due to its declining population in the wild as a result of habitat loss.

It ranges between  4.3–5.9 in (11–15 cm) in length. It has easily distinguishable and has an eye-catching appearance. Its spines are well-developed, along with a nose spine, a double cheek spine, and a sharp eye. It ranges from yellow and white to light brown and greenish-gray. It also might possess reddish-brown lines or spots all over its body. It can grow skin filaments to mimic a seagrass or seaweed plant. Organisms like bryozoans and algae can be present on its skin! Interestingly, the Hippocampus barbouri species also exhibits sexual dimorphism with the male possessing a brood pouch, which is absent in the female.

Keep reading to get to know more exciting facts and also check out our Japanese seahorse facts for kids and lined seahorse fun facts too!

Barbours Seahorse

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small shrimp, crustaceans, calanoid copepods, decapod larvae, and the larvae of polychaetes and fishes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

Males: 4.3-5.9 in (11–15 cm)

Females: 4.3–5.1 in (11–13 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White, yellow, greenish-gray, light brown, and reddish-brown

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Fishing, predation, and habitat loss

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, muddy areas, and estuaries


Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines





Scientific Name

Hippocampus barbouri





Barbour's Seahorse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Barbour's seahorse?

The seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, is a fish. It's a seahorse species that occur in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the central Philippines. Its scientific name is Hippocampus barbouri, where the former word's first part, 'hippo', means 'horse' and the second part, 'campus', means 'sea monster'. It belongs to the same family as the pygmy seahorse, Syngnathidae, and is really famous in the aquarium and medicine trade. This species is native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

What class of animal does a Barbour's seahorse belong to?

The seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, belongs to the same class as the pygmy seahorse, Actinopterygii!

How many Barbour's seahorses are there in the world?

This seahorse species has shown a 30% decline in its population over the period of the last 10 years mainly due to fishing, predation, and habitat loss. Due to its constant decline, it has been classified as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN.

Where does a Barbour's seahorse live?

Its habitat regions are saltwater or tropical areas. It's native to the Indo-Pacific region and occurs in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the central Philippines.

What is a Barbour's seahorse's habitat?

It resides in shallow waters and seagrass beds, estuaries, muddy areas, and mangrove swamps. It occurs in areas that have a depth below 32.8 ft (10 m). The habitat of this species is scattered near coastlines.

When kept in captivity, it can be kept at a reef tank temperature because of its shallow water habitat. It can be kept with soft corals. The size of the aquarium should be between 20-30 gal (75.7-113.6 L) as this is perfect for a small group. The pump intakes must be covered otherwise the seahorse can be sucked against them. A confined space can aid in controlling feeding.

Who do Barbour's seahorses live with?

This seahorse can be kept in captivity in a pair or a tiny group. They can reside with dartfish, gobies, pipefish, blennies, and other seahorses. In the wild, it has been observed to exist in solitary mostly.

How long does a Barbour's seahorse live?

This seahorse (Hippocampus barbouri), when bred in captivity, lives longer than those that occur in the wild. Wild seahorses often end up carrying diseases and they are quite commonly malnourished. Captive-bred ones can consume frozen food easily as they are trained to do so.

How do they reproduce?

This species mates frequently in the breeding season and stays with the same mate for future breeding seasons too. Comparatively, it breeds less times than other seahorse species. The gestation period is 12-14 days long with the brood size varying between 10-250 offspring. Its brood is smaller than that of the long snout Brazillian seahorse (H. reidi). After mating, the eggs are deposited into the male's brood pouch by the female. The brood pouch is separated from the male's body cavity by a cartilage wall. The male seahorse will carry these eggs as they develop and the male and female perform daily greetings during the pregnancy to strengthen their bond. When born, the young seahorses are quite large, with juveniles being 0.1 in (5 mm) in length on average.

What is their conservation status?

This seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, has been classified as a Vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. This species is under threat due to fishing, predation, and habitat loss in the wild. It is very common in the aquarium trade.

Barbour's Seahorse Fun Facts

What do Barbour's seahorses look like?

The Barbour’s seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, is an expert at camouflaging and it is quite hard to spot by divers because of its appearance. Its color varies from white and greenish-gray to yellow and light brown, as well as reddish-brown. Its snout is quite distinguishable as it is striped and slender. Its crown has four to five spines and is moderately high. There are fine lines radiating out of its eyes. Its first dorsal spine is of the longest length and is the broadest. Its wonderful tail is quite short when compared to its body length and it possesses short as well as long spines. Males have a brood pouch which is absent in females. It has the ability to grown additional skin filaments to mimic seagrass or seaweed and organisms like bryozoans or algae can be present on its skin!

Barbour's seahorses are stunning seahorses that can camouflage excellently!
*Please note that this image of a Hippocampus seahorse and not of a Barbour's seahorse. If you have an image of a Barbour's seahorse, then please let us know at

How cute are they?

The Barbour's seahorse is a small-sized seahorse that can be defined as cute due to its size. This seahorse species makes an adorable pet!

How do they communicate?

The way these sea horses communicate is not known yet. However, they can perceive temperature and pressure changes and they can see visual stimulation through their eyes.

How big is a Barbour's seahorse?

This fish exhibits sexual dimorphism with males being longer in length than females. The average length of a male seahorse of this species varies between 4.3-5.9 in (11-15 cm) and that of a female is 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm). The rockmover wrasse is almost twice the length of these seahorses!

How fast can a Barbour's seahorse swim?

This small creature is known for many interesting things, but its speed is not one of them. It does not possess a caudal fin (tail fin), and thus is slower than other fish. It has a slow speed and thus relies on camouflage to escape predators.

How much does a Barbour's seahorse weigh?

The weight of this seahorse has not been evaluated yet. However, they are quite small-sized.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Females and males of this species do not have separate names based on their gender.

What would you call a baby Barbour's seahorse?

A baby Barbour's seahorse (Hippocampus barbouri) is referred to as a fry.

What do they eat?

The Barbour's seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, consumes small shrimp, crustaceans, calanoid copepods, decapod larvae, and the larvae of polychaetes and fishes. In captivity, it can be trained to come to a feeding site readily to consume its food once it gets used to its feeding schedule. Its potential predators can be rays, penguins, large pelagic fishes, skates, and reef-dwelling birds.

Are they dangerous?

The Barbour's seahorse, Hippocampus barbouri, is harmless to humans. However, its excellent camouflaging skills make it a threat to shrimps, crustaceans, and other animals it consumes.

Would they make a good pet?

This seahorse species can be a brilliant addition to anybody's home and is well-known in the pet trade. This species has a stunning appearance and a brilliant zebra snout that makes it unique. It is also very famous in the aquarium trade due to its physical traits!

Did you know...

Species of seahorses are sold commonly as part of traditional Chinese medicine as well as for ornamental display!

Many dried seahorses that are imported into Hong Kong are actually illegal.

These seahorses are known to make a heart shape by touching their bellies and snouts!

Some organs that seahorses have are a heart and a swim bladder.

What are the different types of seahorses?

There are 47 distinct seahorses in the world and there are 14 species that have been discovered over the period of the last eight years! Big-belly seahorses, leafy seadragon seahorses, giant seahorses, Knysna seahorses, and tiger tail seahorses are some of the prettiest seahorse species. The Knysna seahorse is the world's rarest seahorse and it is found in South Africa.

Is there a freshwater seahorse?

There are no seahorses that can survive in freshwaters. Seahorses that are sold falsely as freshwater seahorses are actually freshwater pipefish in reality and these occur in Angola and Gambia.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our African lungfish fun facts and drum fish facts for kids pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable seahorse coloring pages!



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.