The owners of Ocean Rider call this variety of seahorse “Sunburst,” but its proper name is hippocampus erectus – one of 20 species that Carol Cozzi-Schmarr, 45, and her husband, Craig Schmarr, 44, breed on their ranch in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Ocean Rider ships more than 5,000 seahorses a year. Seven varieties are marketed as pets to discerning sea-life enthusiasts, who pay as much as $1,000 to place a colorful 12-inch seahorse in their saltwater tanks. The nine-inch Sunburst sells for $185.
Ocean Rider seahorses are bred to eat frozen shrimp, which makes them easier to keep than those taken wild from the ocean, which need fresh food.
To increase revenue, Ocean Rider has opened up to tourists, who are invited to take turns wrapping seahorses around their fingers.
Photo by Ocean Rider.