Hippocampus erectus, Perry 1810

Sara A. Lourie, Riley A. Pollom & Sarah J. Foster, 2016, A global revision of the Seahorses Hippocampus Rafinesque 1810 (Actinopterygii: Syngnathiformes): Taxonomy and biogeography with recommendations for further research, Zootaxa 4146 (1), pp. 1-66: 24

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Hippocampus erectus


H. erectus Perry 1810 

English common names. Lined Seahorse, northern seahorse, spotted seahorse.

Neotype. USNM 223087

Type locality. ‘American seas, coasts of Mexico and West Indies’ (presumably Atlantic coasts)  . Neotype from Florida (Gulf of Mexico)  , USA.

Synonyms. H. hudsonius DeKay 1842  , H. punctulatus Guichenot 1853  , H. marginalis Kaup 1856  , H. fascicularis Kaup 1856  , H. laevicaudatus Kaup 1856  , H. villosus Günther 1880  , H. stylifer  Jordan and Gilbert 1882, H. brunneus Bean 1906  , H. kincaidi Townsend and Barbour 1906  , Syngnathus caballus Larranaga 1923  .

Distribution. Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Azores Islands (though possibly as a vagrant or of anthropogenic origin—see Woodall et al. 2009), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cura ç ao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, USA, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela.

Notes. No type specimen is associated with the original description of H. erectus  , and its type locality was not specific, but we here designate a neotype from the centre of its range. Vari (1982) revised the western Atlantic seahorses and made the synonymies, however the morphological variation, particularly in terms of spine development among some specimens, is relatively large. The Brazilian H. erectus  forms a genetically distinct clade (648bp, CO1), separate from the Caribbean specimens, however the genetic distance between these clades (1.6%, Silveira et al. 2014) is below the 2% threshold employed in this revision. Boehm et al. (2015) indicate that H. erectus  from the Gulf of Mexico to Long Island exist as three genetic subpopulations (based on 11,708 single nucleotide polymorphisms), although an earlier study based on 3840bp (mtDNA cyt b, CO1, CR) and five nuclear loci (aldolase, myh6, rhodopsin, Tmo4c4, S7 intron) gave no evidence to support a distinction on either side of Cape Hatteras ( Boehm et al. 2013). Boehm et al. (2015) have recently demonstrated that this species is resident as far north as Long Island  . Many records of the species exist from over the Scotian shelf off the east coast of Canada—further research is needed to determine whether they are resident there or if they are vagrant drifters on the Gulf Stream.