Re:New Mustangs

Pete Giwojna

Dear Joe:

Judging from your brief description it’s difficult to say whether the white rings you noticed on your new Mustangs are natural markings — part of their normal color pattern — or something unusual.

But I can tell you that Mustangs are often adorned with various white markings — interlocking white diamonds, white bands, white saddles, white blazes, strings of white dots that coalesce into lines, irregular white splotches, and so on. These bold markings act as a form of natural camouflage known as crypsis or disruptive coloration. The contrast between the irregular white patches, streaks and blotches and the Mustangs dark background coloration breaks up the seahorse’s outline or silhouette and deceives the eye, making it more difficult to separate the animal from the background. So this type of mottling or banding (white ring segments, especially on the tail) is perfectly normal for Hippocampus erectus.

If that’s what you’re describing, then that’s nothing at all to be concerned about, sir. If you can provide me with a little better description of the white rings, that would be very helpful in determining whether they are normal or indicate a potential problem of some sort, since I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say they look like scaling. (Seahorses lack scales, having developed an exoskeleton or body armor composed of bony plates fused together to form interlocking rings). How big are the white rings and where are they located? Are they all similar in size? Regular or irregular? Upraised or flush with the surface of the skin? Also, what are your current aquarium parameters (temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.)? If you can provide me with a little more information about your water chemistry and the white rings you have noticed, I’ll be able to provide you with a better answer.

Best of luck with your new arrivals, Joe!

Pete Giwojna

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