Nov. 26 - There's more to the seahorse than grace and beauty. Using advanced high speed camera technology, scientists in Texas have demonstrated that the seahorse has a hunting technique that makes it among the most lethal predators on the planet. Ben Gruber reports.
They don't realize it yet, but these tiny crustaceans called copepods don't stand a chance. A seahorse is coming in for the kill. In less than a millisecond, the predator sucks down its prey. The seahorse is one of nature's slowest swimmers, but that, say researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, is the secret of its hunting success. Its angled head produces no disturbance in the water, leaving prey oblivious to its presence..until it's too late.. The researchers used a high speed camera technique called 3D digital holography to illustrate the animals' skill. Copepods can escape a predator at more than 500 body lengths per second - fast, but not fast enough to avoid becoming the Seahorse's dinner. Once a copepod is within range, the seahorse is able to catch its prey more than 90 percent of the time…odds, the researchers say, that prove the mighty seahorse as one of nature's most effective killers.