DESTIN — It's not unusual to find seahorses in the Gulf of Mexico. However, finding one at Crab Island is classified as unusual, according to specialists.
According to a post in the "Let's Talk Destin" Facebook group, a woman found a seahorse at Crab Island last Wednesday, snapped a photo of the small fish in her hand and set it free in the water.
Emlyn Mackenzie, senior aquarist at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, said seahorses typically live in sea grass beds, which why one being found at Crab Island is unusual. Mackenzie said it's likely the seahorse found at Crab Island drifted in a current.
"They're not really out of their area here," said Michele Pettis, chief wildlife rehabilitator at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. "I think they're just so small that they're not exactly easily seen."
Pettis said the most common seahorse spotted in the northern half of the Gulf is the lined seahorse, scientific name Hippocampus erectus.
The refuge has only had three or four phone calls about seahorses this year, and two have been physically brought to the refuge for care, Pettis said.
If a seahorse is found injured, Pettis said the best suggestion would be to contact the aquatic team at Gulfarium.
Seahorses are interesting and cryptic creatures. As a fish part of the Syngnathidae family, males carry the embryos in a kangaroo-like pouch instead of females.
There are 47 different species of seahorses, 14 of which were discovered in recent years. Although typically found in tropical waters, seahorses can also be found in colder waters such as off Eastern Canada and the United Kingdom, according to the Smithsonian.