Raise your hand if you thought a Seahorse’s body shape evolved into it’s S-curve for stealth attacks?
Compared to tube-shaped pipefish, their closest relatives, seahorses extend their snouts an extra 30 percent. The difference is only a few millimeters, but for animals with a strike range of a centimeter or two, it’s a big advantage.
“This makes them stealthier and sneakier hunters,” said Lara Ferry, an Arizona State University ecomorphologist who co-authored the study, published Jan. 25 in Nature Communications. “Their prey is less likely to spot them coming, and they are less likely to miss a meal.” […]
Seahorses rely on stealth attack because they’re poor swimmers. While most fish, pipefish included, swim towards their prey, seahorses hide in sea grasses or corals, hang on with a prehensile tail, and wait for tiny shrimp to float by. To prepare for a strike, they tense their muscles and — like a stretched sling-shot — snap forward.