Cousin of the seahorse: the Ornate Ghost pipe-fish

Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus )

Image via Wikipedia

Due to their small size, commonly smaller then our little finger, plus their ability of mimicking their surroundings, Ghost Pipefish are not easy to spot underwater! Which off course makes us, divers, love them even more.

More little the chance to spot something, more valuable it becomes to spot it.

The ghost pipefish are usually spotted living alongside feather-stars, crinoids, soft corals, sea grass, hydroids, gorgonian fans, branching black coral bushes and algae. Chinese to you? Here are some pics of what habitat we are looking for.

Their behavior is extraordinary, hanging head down in the water. Looking for small crustaceans and other plankton. When their prey is spotted, they are sucked up though their tube like snouts.

Similar and closely related to sea horses. They can be found in a wide variety of colors including white, red, black, yellow, depending on their camouflaging surroundings.

In this area of the Philippines the small creatures are the atraction. Situated in the coral triangle, where you can find the biggest variety of species in the world! About 50% more species then in the Red Sea! I absolutely love big fish, but I have to admit that I’m getting excited, trying to find all these macro- super- rare to see creatures…

The Ornate Ghostpipefish surround the Camia II wreck of Boracay. They are of course kings of camouflage. You can find them on the sand, around the wreck, barely moving, imitating feather stars and others. Being seasonal creatures, that set on a reef just a few months a year to breed. I hope you’ll still find them there 😉

You can find them in shallow tropical seas throughout the Asia Pacific region.

For reproduction, it is the female that incubates the eggs in a pouch; that is created by hooking together their ventral fins. For the closely related Pipefish and Seahorse; it is the male who performs this role. After incubation, they release the eggs into the water; planktonic, they travel with the currents until they find a suitable reef to inhabit. Female Ghost Pipefish can be up to twice as large as males and groups of smaller males are often seen accompanying a larger female as she produces and incubates the eggs.

Thank God, they are not considered to be delicious and unlike their cousins the seahorses are not prized for their medicinal powers, so they are rarely fished. They are most at threat from the aquarium trade and loss of habitat due to the overall decline of the world’s reefs.

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3 Comments on “Cousin of the seahorse: the Ornate Ghost pipe-fish

  1. What an interesting article! Gracias!

    Ahora ya sé mucho más sobre el Pipe-fish! Y me hubiera encantado verlo durante éstos magníficos días en Borocay! Voy a tener que volver para encontrarlo… 😉


      • Fue un buceo increíble, magnífico! Gracias a ti!!! No lo olvidaré nunca, mi primera Night-diving! Y seguro que hay un Ghost pipe-fish en el barcoooo!!! Llévate la cámara para cuando lo encuéntres! 😉 Besos miiil!

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