Group: Oil spill imperiled inch-long seahorses
NEW ORLEANS -- An environmental group is asking the federal government to list an inch-long seahorse that lives in the Gulf of Mexico, off Florida and in the Caribbean, as endangered or threatened, saying last year's BP PLC oil spill pushed it closer to extinction.
Dwarf seahorses live in beds of seagrass. The Center for Biological Diversity said Wednesday dramatic losses of those grasses had already severely damaged the dwarf seahorse population before the spill - and both oil and dispersants are toxic to seagrasses and to seahorses.
The federal government has a year to respond to the petition asking Endangered Species Act protection.
Dwarf seahorses - the smallest of four seahorse species found in U.S. waters, and the world's third-smallest - live only one year. Like other seahorses, they mate for life.
Copyright 2011 Miami Herald Media Co.
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