Rare Seahorse Seen Near Long Beach

First it was venomous yellow bellied sea snakes washing up on our Southern California coastlines, but now a more docile but equally rare critter was recently spotted by a diver off the waters below Alamitos Bay.

The Long Beach Press Enterprise reports that diver Roger Hanson saw and subsequently captured an image of Pacific seahorse, a aquatic animal that has a habitat south of Peru and does not usually swim in waters north of San Diego.  Lucky for Hanson, he had a camera with him to record the encounter.

“…the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Sandy Trautwein said recent weather phenomena may explain why the creatures have been seen beyond their usual range.

“It’s rare, I would say, in normal years. But I would say in the past year, because of the warm water influx we’ve had, it isn’t that rare.”

…Besides El Nino, “The Blob” may also explain how a seahorse that should be more accustomed to warmer currents arrived in Alamitos Bay.

The Blob…refers to an unusually warm mass of ocean water first observed in fall 2013 in the Gulf of Alaska. Scientists have since observed warmer temperatures in other reaches of the North Pacific, and NOAA reports The Blob is likely responsible for swordfish and other species better adapted to warmer climes being found in such areas as the water’s near Oregon’s coastline.”

Photo: Roger Hanson