Marine Aquarium at Foreshore Estate
The two-and-a-half-inch pair of sea horses is the latest attraction at the marine aquarium on the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) premises on Santhome High Road at Foreshore Estate.
The pair was recently acquired from the fishermen of Srinivasapuram, Foreshore Estate. K. Venkataraman, Scientist and Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Biology Regional Centre of the ZSI, said the sea horses could be sighted in sea grass and sponges in coral reefs.
On the uniqueness of this marine species, Dr. Venkataraman said that unlike other marine species, the male sea horse hatches the eggs, which are laid in its pouch by the females. Similarly, before mating both the male and female perform a greeting dance and only on a full moon day the mating takes place, said Dr. Venkataraman.
Nearly a decade ago, about 9.75 tonnes of sea horses were exported from India.
Decline in population
In 2001 their population drastically declined, forcing the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to categorise them under Schedule I Part II A of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
The sea horses are in demand for their medicinal properties, to be used as curios and as aquarium exhibits. Sea horses in coral reef areas could be found living together with Pipe fishes and dragon fishes. Worldover, 300 species of sea horses are found and in India five species are recorded.
Five species found in India
Among the five species found in India, the sea horses in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are said to grow longer in size, up to nearly 14 inches. Techniques have been developed to raise sea horses in captivity, however, there is no proper research on the lifespan of sea horses, he added.
Marine aquarium provides an excellent facility for the visitors to look at the beautiful creatures of the seas as if they are in their own natural habitat and to create awareness for the conservation of the rich and varied marine biodiversity of our country. The aquarium hall covers an area of 2800 sq. feet. It has eighteen rectangular tanks of 8 feet length arranged with working space along the walls with front viewing glass.
Marine Biology Regional Centre
Zoological Survey Of India
130, Santhome High Road,
Chennai – 600 028.
Phone- 044 – 24642680 / 24643191
Fax- 044 – 24642680