THE first tiny baby Seahorse has been discovered at Studland, at the UK’s largest known breeding colony of the fascinating creatures.

The 4cm long female spiny seahorse is the smallest recorded in British waters since a survey was begun in 1994 and proof positive that they are breeding in Studland’s seagrass.

“It was pure luck that I found it,” said Neil Garrick-Maidment, executive director of the Seahorse Trust.

He had been diving for 45 minutes and was on his way back to shore when he saw the two month old “fry” clinging to a piece of seagrass.

“I took a couple of pictures and then it went deeper into the seagrass,” he said. “At that age the youngsters are looking for a territory of their own.”

He said the sighting in the bay was highly significant, at the only British site which is home to both spiny and short snouted seahorses.

“It is so difficult to find a baby,” he said, particularly when the poor visibility on the day was only around one metre.

“We have got the adults, had the pregnant males, had the juveniles and now we have actually had a baby as well. It is absolutely, mind-blowingly fantastic,” he said.

“We knew they were giving birth on the site but we always wondered where the babies went,” he added. “Now we know they remain on the site.”

This fry is one in several hundred and would only have measured 4mm when born.

Out of the 300-500 born to each male every month, fewer than two or three will survive to adulthood. Most become food for fish.

If she survives, when fully grown she will reach 16-18cm and will in turn eat a staggering 3,000 plus pieces of miniature plankton every 24-hours.

The site is popular with boats owners and a study is being carried out to discover if anchors are damaging the seagrass habitat.