Seahorses in Boothbay Harbor?

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:30am

Lobsterman Mark Jones recently caught two seahorses when hauling his traps – one in Linekin Bay and the other near the Cuckolds. The range of this species is usually the Atlantic coast from South Carolina to Cape Cod. So, what were the chances of this happening in our waters to the same person in the span of two weeks?

It is a known fact that ocean temperatures worldwide are rising rapidly, with some of the fastest warming taking place in our own Gulf of Maine. As recently reported by Maine PBS, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute recorded an average temperature of more than 68 degrees Fahrenheit — just five one-hundredths lower than a record set in 2012. Therefore, the high water temperatures this year may be associated with an abundance of some species that are usually found farther south, such as squid, black sea bass and butterfish.

The locally-caught seahorses were donated to the Maine State Aquarium and will be on exhibit until the close of their season. Education Director Elaine Jones is looking for a winter home for them with contacts made to the New England Aquarium and Sea & Reef Aquaculture in Franklin, both of which culture seahorses.

The Aquarium will be open Wednesdays through Sundays until Sept. 30. So, take this opportunity to visit and see these unique fish who get their name from their horse-like head. Through close observation, you will notice a bony armor covered by a camouflaged skin, their method of attaching to plant-life with a curled tail, and their pipette-like snout.

The staff at the Aquarium would like to thank Mark Jones and all of the fishermen who have enhanced their exhibits this season. It is through a diverse collection of Maine’s marine life that nearly 40,000 visitors each year are educated about our native species and transient travelers from the south.