Seahorse Spotted in San Diego Bay

The Pacific seahorse is a fairly rare sight in the bay

Now this is a horse of a very different color.

A bright yellow Pacific seahorse rode into the San Diego Bay last week, stirring up some excitement for the man who snapped the photo above: Neal Matthews.

Matthews said during a low tide Thursday, he was exploring shoal water in the bay – an area normally too deep for a snorkelers to get a good look.

As he floated along the eelgrass, he caught a flash of orange. He took a closer look and saw the lone seahorse sitting in the blades, a sight he’d been hoping to see since last August.

It’s not something your average San Diego snorkeler could see.

““It’s kind of rare. We’ve found [seahorses] throughout the years, but it’s seldom when you really see them,” said Acting Aquarium Curator Fernando Nosratpour with Birch Aquarium.

After taking a look at Matthews’ photos, Nosratpour said this creature is part of the largest seahorse species, ranging between 12 and 14 inches.

They’re typically found between central Baja California and northern Peru, so this little guy wound up in the northern part of their range.

Camouflage techniques makes them difficult to see, but divers have found seahorses in the San Diego Bay around pier pilings, hanging onto seaweed on the beach and just sitting still amid the grass. There’s no single area they are usually found, Nosratpour said.

So where exactly did Matthews find this seahorse?

“The exact location has to remain confidential,” said Matthews in an email. “Otherwise, they’d be poached.”

But if you can’t stand the thought of never seeing one in person, Nosratpour said Birch Aquarium has two tanks dedicated to San Diego Bay marine life, including the Pacific seahorse.

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