Philippe Cousteau Empathizes With Seahorses

The latest offbeat installment of online series The Aquatic World with Philippe Cousteau reveals the ocean's master of disguise: the pygmy seahorse. This short segment, with Jacques' grandson, who doubles as an ocean conservationist and amateur comedian, dives into the science of the fish's (yes, a seahorse is a fish) ability to perfectly match the color and appearance of the fan coral, sea grass, algae, and gorgonian coral that they live upon. "My grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, always stood out in a crowd because of his style," says Cousteau before whipping out a magnifying glass. "But these seahorses do just the opposite."

Sitting next to one of his red-capped assistants and dressed like Steve Zissou (who dressed like Jacques), Cousteau points out that scientists discovered the pygmy seahorse by accident. One day, someone found the paper-clip-sized creature attached to a piece of coral that was being examined.

But these little fish know how to be seen when they want to be. "Seahorses, much like chameleons, can change color," says our host. "They change color to confuse predators, as well as to convey emotion to one another — especially during courtship." That means we aren't the only species blushing on a first date. 

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