With the whimsy and heart of The Soul of an Octopus and the surprising details of the very best science writing, The Curious World of Seahorses brilliantly captures the ocean's most charismatic and mysterious inhabitant.
"When God created the seahorse," says one marine biologist, "he may have had one too many".
Of all the creatures in the ocean, there are none more charming and magical – or more strange – than the seahorses. Masters of disguise, graceful dancers, and romantic lovers, seahorses are found not only in the seagrass meadows and mangroves of the world, but also throughout the annals of human history and culture – surfacing everywhere from chess and Greek mythology to Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and Pokémon games.
Equipped with a pouch like a kangaroo, independent eyes like a chameleon, a long snout like an anteater, and a prehensile tail like a monkey – and complete with a crown on its head as unique as a human fingerprint – the seahorse defies easy categorization.
In this entertaining and informative book, science writer Till Hein shares the most tantalizing findings from the world of seahorses, opening up some of the secrets of these magical creatures of the sea. He reveals their intriguing biological features, such as their unique prehensile tails, their fins, and their lack of a stomach (seahorses only have intestines!). He speaks to experts about the fossil record of prehistoric seahorses, and examines their unique hunting strategy involving suction through their tubular (and toothless) snout.
But the most unique aspect of the seahorses is their reproductive cycle, as it is the male of the species who becomes pregnant. Seahorses have become icons in feminist and transgender male communities for the way they can reshape human cultural notions of masculinity and fatherhood.
Endlessly fascinating and charmingly approachable, The Curious World of Seahorses will captivate any reader looking to learn more about one of the most incredible creatures on Earth.
Till Hein studied history, German, and Russian before becoming an editor and a science journalist. He is a great friend of fish and has written profiles of finned creatures for over ten years, from hagfish to gray sharks to seahorses. He lives in Berlin.