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Measuring just 1 centimeter (1/3 inch) long, this delicate little pygmy seahorse beautifully illustrates the concept of camouflage through mimicry. The seahorse’s yellow color and distinctive shape make it look like just another extension of the gorgonian coral it mimics off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Like some miniature creature marching along a polyp highway, a pygmy seahorse takes advantage of the coral's maze-like structure to hide in cryptic safety. At first, scientists thought this yellow-colored seahorse was a separate species, but then realized it is yet another color morph of the species H. bargibanti simply matching the golden color of this gorgonion coral host. Pygmy seahorses can be solitary or occur in small groups. They use their prehensile tails to hang onto their sea fan, swaying back and forth in the current. Males and females intertwine their bodies during harmonized courtship dances, after which the female uses her ovipositor to deposit her eggs in the male's brood pouch, where they are fertilized and remain until hatched. The female then departs, leaving the male to incubate the eggs and give birth to live, tiny seahorses, which are miniature replicas of the adults.

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Measuring just 1 centimeter (1/3 inch) long, this delicate little pygmy seahorse beautifully illustrates the concept of camouflage through mimicry. The seahorse’s yellow color and distinctive shape make it look like just another extension of the gorgonian coral it mimics off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Like some miniature creature marching along a polyp highway, a pygmy seahorse takes advantage of the coral's maze-like structure to hide in cryptic safety. At first, scientists thought...
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