Researchers at Spain's Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies, or CSIC, have managed an 80 percent survival rate for seahorses raised in captivity, marking the first time this level has been achieved.
After a six-year effort, a team from the Marine Research Institute in the northwestern Spanish city of Vigo developed a technique for raising long-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus guttulatus) that grew to double the size of members of the marine species living in their natural environment at the age of one, the CSIC said in a statement.
Scientists found that the ideal temperature for raising the seahorses in captivity was around 19 C to 20 C, opening the way for further research into the relationship between water temperatures and the species' distribution.
The scientists, moreover, found that seahorses living off the coast of the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia and in the Mediterranean have better conditions for growth than those in the North Atlantic, opening the way for efforts to restore the protected species in its natural habitat, the CSIC said.
The project, which was funded by the Spanish government, was carried out by the University of Santiago de Compostela, the Canary Islands Institute for Marine Sciences and the Finisterre Aquarium. EFE