Tiny and delicate, pygmy seahorses survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to both predators and researchers. Now, biologists at the California Academy of Sciences have successfully bred them in captivity for the first time. Finally, they’re able to study the seahorses’ amazing act of camouflage up close.
So, in the spirit of age old “chicken before the egg” inquiry, marine biologists over at the Steinhart Aquarium decided to explore the camouflage tactics of the adorable, wee pygmy seahorse. So here’s the deal – if a pygmy seahorse can’t blend perfectly into its environment, they’d surely die. They’d be too easy for predators to spot and snatch up. These little guys spend their days lounging around on sea fans. There’s yellow pygmies and there’s purple pygmies. The question? Do they change color to match each specific habitat or are they simply born this way? To find out, the biologists took itty-bitty baby yellow seahorses, which were a dull-brownish hue, and plopped them into tanks with purple sea fans. The result? They turned purple. So there you have it!