Seahorses stalk prey by stealth

November 26, 2013
By
Deeter Does Wirless



Seahorse stalks its prey

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Seahorse, or sea monster? Watch the hunter stalking its victim

Deeter Does Custom Designs

Seahorses may appear slow and awkward but they are ferocious and ingenious predators, according to a new study.

The beautiful creatures are famously bad swimmers, but they have a secret weapon to sneak up on their prey.

Deeter Does Custom Designs

Their peculiar snouts are shaped to create very few ripples in the water, effectively cloaking them as they creep up and pounce on tiny crustaceans.

To their victims, seahorses are more like sea monsters, say scientists from the University of Texas at Austin.

“The seahorse is one the slowest swimming fish we know of, but it’s able to capture prey that swim at incredible speeds,” said Brad Gemmell, author of the study in Nature Communications.

The prey, in this case, are copepods – extremely small crustaceans that are a favored meal of seahorses, pipefish and sea dragons (Syngnathidae).

When copepods detect waves from predators, they jolt away at speeds of more than 500 body lengths per second – the equivalent of a 6-foot human swimming at 2,000 mph.

Deadly strike

“Seahorses can overcome one of the most talented escape artists in the aquatic world,” said Dr Gemmell.

“In calm conditions, they catch their intended prey 90% of the time. That’s extremely high, and we wanted to know why.”

Dwarf seahorseThe dwarf seahorse may look delicate, but its snout is a lethal weapon

Seahorses dine by a method known as pivot feeding. Their arched necks act as a spring – allowing them to rapidly rotate their heads and suck their prey in.

But this suction only works at short distances. The effective strike range for seahorses is about 1mm. And a strike happens in less than 1 millisecond.

Until now, it was a mystery how such apparently docile creatures managed to get close enough to their prey without being spotted.

To find out, Dr Gemmell and his colleagues studied the dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae, which is native to the Bahamas and the US.

They filmed the movement of water around the fish in 3D using holography – a technique where a microscope is fitted with a laser and a high-speed digital camera.

They found that the seahorse’s snout is shaped to minimise the disturbance of water in front of its mouth before it strikes.

Above and in front of its nostrils is a “no wake zone” and it angles its head precisely to attack its prey.

Other small fish with blunter heads, such as the three-spine stickleback, have no such advantage, the researchers found.

“It’s like an arms race between predator and prey, and the seahorse has developed a good method for getting close enough so that their striking distance is very short,” said Dr Gemmell.

“People don’t often think of seahorses as amazing predators, but they really are.”

Deeter Does Wirless

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25103455#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa The feed :

Tags:

Sponsored By:

The Deeter Group

Deeter Electronics Ltd. | Deeter Electronics Inc | Deeter Group Asia | Deeter Group Germany | Deeter Group Corporate

Head & Registered Office:
Deeter Electronics Ltd.
Deeter House,
Valley Road,
Hughenden Valley,
Bucks. HP14 4LW

Tel: +44 (0) 1494 566 046
Fax: +44 (0) 1494 563 961
E-mail: [email protected]


The Deeter Group with products ranging from: , , , continuous , 4-20mA , , , , , , , a , wireless sensor and much more.

If you want a standard or a custom level switch, float switch, level sensor, or wireless sensor, contact us via email [email protected] or call us now on 01494 566 046.

Company Name: The Deeter Group

Location: Hughenden Valley, UK

Deeter Electronics USA
Deeter Electronics USA
Wireless sensor system | Radio telemetry | Level switches | Level sensors | Liquid level sensor | Float switches | Controllers & indicators | Industrial weighing equipment | Electronic circuit design & manufacture | Software design | Reed relays | Ultrasonic level flow sludge & proximity sensors | Proximity sensors & switches | Reed switches | Litz wire | Wago Terminals | Mechanical & magnetic floats | Boiler control |

Deeter Electronics UK
Wireless sensor system | Radio telemetry | Level switches | Level sensors | Liquid level sensor | Float switches | Controllers & indicators | Industrial weighing equipment | Electronic circuit design & manufacture | Software design | Reed relays | Ultrasonic level flow sludge & proximity sensors | Proximity sensors & switches | Reed switches | Litz wire | Wago Terminals | Mechanical & magnetic floats | Boiler control |

Deeter Electronics Europe
Wireless sensor system | Radio telemetry | Level switches | Level sensors | Liquid level sensor | Float switches | Controllers & indicators | Industrial weighing equipment | Electronic circuit design & manufacture | Software design | Ultrasonic level flow sludge & proximity sensors | Proximity sensors & switches | Reed switches | Litz wire | Wago Terminals | Mechanical & magnetic floats | Boiler control |

Sensor Magazine Websites
Explosion Proof Sensors UK | Explosion Proof Sensors | Water Level Measurement | Liquid Level Sensing | Liquid Level Measurement | Liquid Level Sensors UK | Liquid Level Sensors Europe | Wireless Sensors | Sensor Magazine | Industrial Sensors



Water use