Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Grade Level: Middle Elementary
The seahorse is one of the most unusual fish in the ocean. It has the head of a tiny horse and the curling tail of a monkey. As it swims upright through the water, the seahorse looks more like a tiny dragon than a fish.
Seahorses live in the shallow, warm waters of the world. There are over 35 species of seahorses and they are different sizes. Some are two inches long; others are twelve inches long. The body of a seahorse is made of bony plates, and it uses its back fin, called a dorsal fin, to move through the water.
Seahorses have no teeth and swallow their food whole. They feed themselves by sucking tiny animals and fish eggs into their mouths. Since they are slow swimmers, they wrap their tails around coral branches or floating seagrasses and wait for food to drift by.
A seahorse has the unusual ability to quickly change the color of its body to blend in with the colors around it. This helps it to hide from its enemies.
The father seahorse keeps the eggs of the mother seahorse in a pouch on his stomach until they hatch. Baby seahorses are not very good swimmers, so the father swims nearby to protect them while they hunt for food.
Seahorses are very popular fish in aquariums. Also, millions of seahorses are caught for use in medicines in Asian countries, such as China, Thailand, and Viet Nam. As a result, seahorses are becoming harder to find because of too much fishing. This is called overfishing. Project Seahorse was started in the year 1996 to help protect seahorses all over the world from becoming endangered.
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the passage:
Where do seahorses live?
How do seahorses feed themselves?
What would happen if seahorses lost their ability to change colors?
What do you think might happen to seahorses if they continue to be overfished?