Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Short-snouted seahorse

Nominated by: Marine Conservation Society UK (MCS UK)

Conservation status: It is lack of knowledge that gives this species of seahorse its listing on Appendix 11 of CITES, where its status is given as Data Deficient. The species is surprisingly widely distributed around the UK, with records as far north as Shetland, though sightings are very sporadic and widely dispersed. We know it tends to prefer shallow habitats, especially seagrass meadows which only grow in sheltered, sunlit areas. Divers do encounter them at depths of more than 20 metres and sightings are very occasional – they are hard to pigeon hole!

Why do you love it? They’re beautiful, delicate, and pair up together for a long time, but they’re elusive. Lots of people aren’t even aware that they’re found in UK seas. The fact that they are fish comes as a surprise to many. The male carries developing babies prior to birth.

What are the threats to the short-snouted seahorse? It is the enigmatic nature of the seahorse, and the curiosity it arouses that is perhaps its biggest threat. Seahorses are prized for their alleged medicinal properties, and hard to protect in the habitats they dwell in because they are so cryptic and hard to find in the first place.

What are you doing to save it? With all of this uncertainty, it is clear that the sites where they are known to live, and especially where breeding is confirmed, need to be well protected. The Marine Conservation Society is championing the protection of habitats around the UK to protect our wealth of wildlife, and has teamed up with the Seahorse Trust with the Adopt-A-Seahorse scheme to help fund the protection of seahorses in UK seas.

Find out more about MCS UK and their conservation work

Discover more ray-finned fishes on Arkive