Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seahorse Scenes!

April 25, 2009

Beczak’s seining season has just begun. From April to October, we give our visitors waterproof boots and pants called waders and show them how to drag a long fishing net through the Hudson. Last weekend, our seine team caught white perch, striped bass, pipefish, shrimp, and some kind of ball of sediment and leaves. Megan, one of our volunteers, began to search through this mud and realized that there was something living in it. To our surprise, it was a lined seahorse! The seahorse measured about two inches in length and was the first that I had caught this far upriver.

The lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is a close relative of the northern pipefish, a common catch in our net. While pipefish can be spotted up to 50 miles upriver in brackish water, the lined seahorse has more of a limited range. It can be found as for north as the Tappan Zee Bridge, but increases in numbers in the New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. Since this seahorse is so small, it was likely carried upriver by the strong currents.

Spotting a seahorse here in Yonkers was a very exciting find. This is just another example of why I always tell my students that you never know what you’ll catch in the Beczak seine net!

Jason Muller
Educator/Technology Specialist