Caballo del Mar is Spanish for Seahorse.
A student gives me this small seahorse that once belonged to her grandmother. She gives it to me because she says she knows I’ll paint it. Aimee is correct. I accept the precious object knowing I will complete an anatomy study.
The seahorse is a marine fish in the genus Hippocampus. Hippocampus comes from the Ancient Greek, hippo meaning horse and kampos meaning sea monster.
A few facts:
- These creatures have independently moving eyes.
- Their body is covered with consecutive rings of bony plates.
- Seahorses are fish. They use gills to breathe and have a swim bladder to help regulate their buoyancy. Note: they are not very good swimmers.
- They have no teeth and no stomach. Food moves through their digestive system quickly; they eat almost constantly to stay alive.
- The male gives birth, he carries the brood pouch.
- I believe, when I begin the composition, seahorses mate for life (which is why I paint two), and though they do form a bond, I learn for most, it is usually only through breeding season.
Seahorses were given international protection on May 15, 2004 (under CITES). Millions are now being traded around the world for many reasons including for their use in traditional Chinese medicine. There is also deterioration occurring in the Coral reefs and seagrass were they make their home. Learning this, I have to say, I’d feel even more saddness for them if they did mate for life.
I wish we could be better caretakers of all of life.
Here is the finished anatomy study of a female (facing left) and male (at bottom) seahorse. I place them in the Pacific Ocean, because they are found in warmer waters.