With their slow, gentle demeanors and curlicue tails, seahorses might seem like the most harmless, unassuming creatures under the sea. But they're actually one of the most deadly. And definitely one of the weirdest. The mysterious marine creatures have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Here are 11 facts that will forever change the way you think of seahorses.
1. Seahorses are masters of disguise.
Their camouflage game is on point.
2. Male seahorses are the ones who give birth.
The female lays her eggs in the male's pouch for him to fertilize internally. He then carries them -- as many as 2,000 at a time -- for two to three weeks before giving birth. Sadly, less than one in a thousand will survive long enough to become an adult.
Go, dad, go!
3. Seahorse courtship begins with a daily "dance," during which the male and female gracefully swim together.
This courtship happens every morning for several days -- the final dance can last up to eight hours -- until the couple finally does the deed.
4. They are the "assassins of the sea."
Seahorse heads are shaped to let them move through the water undetected. The quietly sneaky hunting technique gives them an impressive 90 percent successful predatory kill rate.
5. A baby seahorse is called a "fry."
Isn't that precious?
LOOK AT THIS SMALL FRY.
6. And a group of seahorses is called a herd.
A herd of fry.
7. Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach.
They use their tube-shaped noses to suck up small animals, and they have to eat almost constantly since food passes through their digestive systems so quickly.
The face of hunger.
8. Seahorses "growl" when they're stressed.
They also "click" when courting one another.
9. Seahorses can range from 0.6 inches to 14 inches in height.
Pygmy seahorses, like the one below, measure roughly 2 centimeters.
10. Seahorses are terrible swimmers.
They're the slowest of all fish due to the tiny fin on the middle of their back. (It's their only method of propulsion.) They have been known to die of exhaustion if seas get too rough.
11. They can wrap their dexterous tails around whatever is available to them -- even one another.
Sometimes they latch onto seaweed or other moving debris to ride ocean currents.