Visitors at the Government Museum in the city were curious to see the specimens of sea horses, displayed as the Exhibit of the Week. Organised by the Zoology section, the specimen will be kept for public viewing till Sunday.
The curator at the museum said there are more than 40 varieties of sea horses that come under the fish variety, in oceans across the world.
In India alone, including the Gulf of Mannar, there are over eight varieties, the curator added. The exhibited specimen, nine inches in length, belongs to the species Hippocampus Guttulatus. Generally, sea horses vary in size from one inch to 14 inches in length depending upon the species. The curator also added that sea horses are known for their parental care during the breeding season as males collect the eggs laid by the female and fertilise them in a pouch located in their chests. After incubation period, the young ones are released.
The dry specimen is periodically cleaned and a coat of varnish is given to make it look brighter as the colour changes over a period of time, staff at the Zoology section said.
“Their body is covered by shields, which, in turn, is covered by a soft skin instead of scales. They have no teeth,” the staff explained. Sea horses are smuggled for trading, as there is a myth that their body contains medicinal properties. In Indian waters, the sea horses are protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.