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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 06:27 GMT
Seahorse breeder's shock
The offsrping are a red-brown colour
A breeding pair of bright yellow seahorses has produced more than 100 babies in captivity.

Staff at Mid Cornwall Aquatics have been scouring breeder's records to find out if the rare Brazilian seahorses have broken the world record.

Hippocampus Reidi, as they are formally known, more usually produce just one or two offspring in captivity.

Les Wiley, who runs the aquatic shop in St. Austell Garden Centre, told BBC News Online: "We have looked on all the breeder's registers and no-one has ever reared that number before, as they are not common seahorses.

Hippocampus Reidi
The parents were imported from America

"As far as we are aware it is a world first - we have heard about one or two surviving in America, but we have never heard about more than 100 before.

"People come in just to look at them and say 'Aaaah' - it is the 'fluffy-bunny' syndrome."

The infant seahorses, collectively known as fry, are five months old and have grown to four inches tall.

Their seven-inch parents are yellow but can change colour to suit their environment.

Special diet

Mr Wiley, 54, said: "To get them to breed and raise the fry you need to start by conditioning the parents, which are fed mycid shrimp, brine shrimp, and small krill.

"Seahorses are dependent on long chain fatty acids.

"But a few of the easier feeding types are not dependent on food for the acids and have the ability to build them, so they have been bred in larger numbers before."

"Children come in and say 'Look at the seahorse Mum,' when they have never spoken about fish before," he added.

The seahorses are found in the wild around the coast of South America and in the Caribbean.

See also:

22 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
UK estuaries 'risk becoming deserts'
08 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Seahorses in peril
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