Rare Seahorse Spotted Off California Coast

A diver in Alamitos Bay happened upon a Pacific seahorse, which usually lives in the warmer waters of Mexico.

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This Pacific seahorse, recorded on video off the coast of Southern California, is thousands of miles from home. Via CBS/Los Angeles News Group/Roger Hanzon
John Virata

The weird El Niño weather has brought all sorts of strange ocean critters to the coast of Southern California. Last summer millions of tiny tuna crabs washed up on beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego. No less that three yellow-bellied sea snakes also washed up on the beaches in Southern California in the last several months. The latest creature is native to the warm waters of Mexico, and it causes one to wonder how it found its way to the cooler waters of Southern California.

Diver Roger Hanson was in just a few feet of water when he spotted a Pacific seahorse swimming in Alamitos Bay near Long Beach, California, according to a report from CBS News affiliate CBS LA. He was so excited by the find that he dove again a few weeks later in hopes of capturing the seahorse on video and was successful.

Alamitos Bay is a recreational body of water off Long Beach, California. This is not normal seahorse habitat. Via Google Maps

Alamitos Bay is a recreational body of water off Long Beach, California. This is not normal seahorse habitat. Via Google Maps

Now that is a rarity as these delicate fishes are poor swimmers and normally live in warmer waters on coral reefs off Mexico, Central American and have even been found as far south as Peru. They are also found in warmer waters of the United States but are rarely found north of San Diego, according to the report.

So what’s Hanson’s next move? To find more of this rare species.

“There’s got to be more than one,” he told the station. “That’s my next mission.”

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