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The Curious World of Seahorses: The Life and Lore of a Marine Marvel By Till Hein

Publisher: Greystone Books

Author interviewed by Marc Bekoff, Psychology Today / Animal Emotions

Curious World of Seahorses
The Curious World of Seahorses By Till Hein
Available at Greystone Books
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771649887
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771649889

Marc Bekoff's Interview: The Astonishing Lives of Emotional and Romantic Seahorses

When I first learned about science writer Till Hein's new book The Curious World of Seahorses: The Life and Lore of a Marin Marvel, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. As I read it, my learning curve was vertical and I kept saying, "I didn't know that!" Seahorses are tiny fishes and there are about 50 different species. They're social, romantic, and efficient hunters, and it's males who get pregnant. Concerning their romantic proclivities, we're told:

"Every morning, seahorse couples engage in ritualistic dances to greet each other, moving through intricate, rhythmic sequences of twists and twirls for minutes to hours on end. While we humans may schedule dates with romantic prospects to analyze our compatibility and get to know each other better, seahorses prove we’re not the only species that ‘date!’ They engage in their daily dances to strengthen their romantic bond, ensure their reproductive cycles are properly synced and to verify each day that their partner is both still fervently committed and, frankly, alive."

I'm very pleased Till could answer a few questions on his fascinating new book about these charming fishers.

Marc Bekoff: Why did you write The Curious World of Seahorses?

Till Hein: I regularly write articles for the popular German print magazine "Mare" about fascinating subjects like ice sharks, albatrosses, mangrove killifish, hagfish and whales. They also publish books and one day the editors asked me whether I would be interested in writing a nonfiction book about seahorses. Obviously I was delighted, because these animals are so cute! But then I hesitated: "What do seahorses do all day?" I asked myself. Maybe they are more like models than, let's say, actors: very good looking, but with no gripping story? I called several marine biologists and fish experts in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia and I learned there is a lot of very interesting research going on concerning seahorses. Seahorses are fish, although they don`t look very fishy.




Till Hein studied history, German, and Russian before becoming an editor and a science journalist. He is a great friend of fish and has written profiles of finned creatures for over ten years, from hagfish to gray sharks to seahorses. He lives in Berlin.

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