The Sea Horse
With a bosom it can puff up like a pouter pigeon and a coat of coloured armour, it intrigues most people. It is 10cm (4 in) of riveted beauty, tail tightly curled around sea weed as it floats vertically in its green and watery world. It is the only fish that swims upright, and achieves this by having a special bubble inside its bladder. Sensitive cells at the top of the bladder detect when the bubble is in the wrong place and the animal moves until the bubble feels right. It will then be straight up again.
If you can imagine trying to turn any other sort of fish into a sea horse, you will see why no scientist has been able to suggest any evolutionary advantage for an animal to swim like this. After all, to stand up while you are swimming forward makes swimming a lot harder—like a horse without legs in a wrong world. Without the bladder it can’t move fast either. If the bladder is punctured, it sinks helplessly to the bottom and will die if the wound does not heal.
But the sea horse is not just a fish that swims on its tail. Its whole body is built around the way it swims, with the elaborate balancing mechanism in use even when it is asleep. It just can’t fall over.
Its uniqueness is displayed also by the fact that it offers not a solitary clue to an evolutionary origin. No missing links. No fish relatives that are half sea horse. Even its fins are different. Unlike other fish it has only one fin—a single wide one on its back.
The design which has gone into this little creature is evident in its incredible eyes. Like the land dwelling imp, the chameleon, its eyes can turn independently. One can look left while the other looks right. This is extremely useful if you can’t move very fast. Whenever it swims near the surface it can scan both above and below the waves at the same time — the best of both worlds. Also, like the chameleon, it can hide by changing colour to match its surroundings.
Like strange pygmy dragons, sea horses spend much of their time clinging to the weeds in which they live. Many of them are not only the same color as the weeds, they even look like weeds. "Hiding" you say? Maybe, but the sea horse hasn’t got too many enemies. Its bony shell and its bitter taste deter all but the desperately starving.
To watch father sea horse give birth to several hundred tiny sea horses is a unique drama. Mother ceases her part in the job of reproduction when she carefully deposits her fertilized eggs into dad’s kangaroo-like sack. There they stay for the next forty-five days. Father looks after them until they are old enough to forage about on their own. Then most will readily wander off to fend for themselves.
Occasionally, one simply twists its tail around dad and hitches a ride—a beautiful sight to behold.
Why is a sea horse like this? Its submarine plating and indeed everything about it are evidence of meticulous engineering. But even if it existed for no other reason than it was a beauty for man to behold, this would be enough. Too often we become so blinded by the human quest for knowledge that we forget to enjoy the world which God has made. A world which is, after all, a set of valuables on loan from a very good Friend.