Seahorses have a specialized morphology that includes a toothless tubular mouth, a body covered with bony plates, a male brood pouch, and the absence of caudal and pelvic fins. Here we report the sequencing and de novo assembly of the genome of the tiger tail seahorse, Hippocampus comes. Comparative genomic analysis identifies higher protein and nucleotide evolutionary rates in H. comes compared with other teleost fish genomes. We identified an astacin metalloprotease gene family that has undergone expansion and is highly expressed in the male brood pouch. We also find that the H. comes genome lacks enamel matrix protein-coding proline/glutamine-rich secretory calcium-binding phosphoprotein genes, which might have led to the loss of mineralized teeth. tbx4, a regulator of hindlimb development, is also not found in H. comes genome. Knockout of tbx4 in zebrafish showed a 'pelvic fin-loss' phenotype similar to that of seahorses.