​Pacific Seahorse May Be From Warmer El Nino Conditions Off Long Beach Coastline

Pacific Seahorse
Author: Michael StevensBy:
Staff Reporter
Feb. 24, 2016

A Pacific seahorse was seen off the Long Beach, California coastline this week. The unexpected seahorse may be from the warm El Nino waters that was caught on camera, recorded by diver roger Hanson, in about 4 feet of water below the Alamitos Bay this past Sunday, according to The Sun.

“I was shocked because I know that that’s a once in a lifetime moment,” said Hanson, who has more than 5,000 dives, and even swam in the Pacific with Jacques Cousteau in the Great Barrier Reef. “So Sunday I went out and I go ‘You know what, I’m going to bring my camera,’ and there it was,” said Hanson.

Pacific seahorse may be from warmer El-Nino conditions

Pacific seahorse may be from warmer El-Nino conditions

Hanson said he spotted a Pacific seahorse once before in January but didn’t have his camera with him. The sighting was indeed uncommon, according to Dr. Sandy Trautwein, the curator of fish and invertebrates at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The giant seahorse is the newest addition to the college’s aquarium — already one of the largest in Orange County boasting nearly 50 species of fish. The addition of the seahorse is remarkable because of the virtual rarity of plucking the species from the wild and bringing it into captivity.

More and more unusual creatures are likely being brought to the Southern California coast due to the warmer waters being created by this year’s El Nino conditions, Trautwein said. “We have a very unusual event that’s been going on for the past year or so at least, where the waters are at higher than average temperatures,” Trautwein said.

At least three “highly venomous” sea snakes have washed up on Southern California beaches since mid-October, when the first such snake to appear in the region in 30 years was spotted in Oxnard.

Aquarium of the Pacific

In June, thousands of small crabs washed up on beaches in Orange and San Diego counties. The crustaceans, native to the waters off Baja California, often appear in El Nino years.

In addition to the El Nino conditions, a huge area of unusually warm water in the Pacific known to scientists as “The Blob” could have led the Pacific seahorse and other sea life to Southern California waters.

El Nino has brought some strange sights in the past two years along the Southern California coastline, and the latest find by a Santa Ana diver of a Giant Pacific seahorse is no exception. El Nino has created what scientists refer to as “the Blob,” a body of warm water that has brought unusual sea creatures to the coastline.

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