Rare breed of seahorse spotted in Dorset

Rare breed of seahorse spotted in Dorset

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 6th June 2020. (Updated at 12:46am 6th June 2020)

A rare species of seahorse has been spotted at Dorset's Studland Bay. 

Neil Garrick-Maidment works at the Seahorse Trust, went for his dive after the lockdown began and found 16 Spiny seahorses.

He says they've never seen that many in Studland Bay before.

"In 2008, 2099 we found nine in one dive and that was our previous highest record. It's very rare at this time of year.

"We're used to them migrating to the Bay in early spring and leaving in early Autumn when the first storms of the year start.

"But this year, because of lockdown they've come in and bred well."

As there have been no boats, no noise or no people in the water, Neil said the ecology of the grass has improved so much that there is more food and places for the seahorses to hide. 

"Half of them were male and half of them were female, there were also two juveniles, which would have been born this year.

"Half of the males there were actually pregnant, it would be lovely if they would have some more babies."

Neil doesn't recommend people go down to the bay and look for them.

"If people want to go down there and see them, they are legally required to have a licence from the Marine Management Organisation.

"Back in 2008, I got both the Spiny and the Short-Snorted seahorse legally protected, they are now recognised as British species. 

"Since then if people want to go and look for British seahorses, they are required to have a licence."