My second week at MCC started exciting. Not only arrived new volunteers surveying the jungle of the island but Lindsay Aylesworth, researcher at Project Seahorse, joined us as well. For a few days she stayed at Koh Seh, training us some more for seahorse survey dives, giving us some insight into her work, as well as introducing the initiative ISeahorse she is working with.
Lindsay showed us dry specimen of seahorse, pictures of them, introduced us to the species most commonly found in Cambodia and also trained us in which data to report for our own purposes but also for the life after being at MCC, if we decide to become an active part in ISeahorse. Iseahorse is a website where it is possible to report seahorse sightings on dives one did, helping researchers. Everybody can join so check it out :-).
Some interesting stuff I learned about seahorses this week:
- the males can get pregnant the very day after giving birth
- some seahorses mate for life
- a couple gets to know each other through dancing
- colour does not help identifying the species as they change colour
- the smallest seahorses are less than 2 cm long
At first it was really hard for me to identify species but with practice it became easier. When we went diving after a lot of practicing I finally spotted my first seahorse: At 3.8m and about 15 min into the dive a beautiful Hippcampus Kuda chilled out, holding on to a mussel. I was very proud to have seen it and being able to add something to the extensive data base MCC is developing concerning the seagrass and reefs around the island.
Since Kudas are the most common species around Koh Seh I decided to write a small poem about them :-).
Ode to Hippocampus Kuda
Kuda, that is your name
still you don’t look all the same.
Spotting you is really hard,
because in hiding you are very smart.
Holding on to stuff with your tail
is something you do really well.
With your snout you look like a horse
but you can’t chew with it with force.
When you start do dance
it might lead to romance;
but your gender roles are slightly strange
’cause males are going through pregnancy change.
With your coronets you look like kings and queens
hiding underwater in your kingdom of greens.