Wild Fact #141 – The Straightened Seahorse – Pipefish

Seahorse Relatives - The Pipefish

Did You Know?

  • The Pipefish is related to another cute, aquatic animals – the Seahorse (they are in the same family)
  • This sea creature received their name as a result of their long, straight snout, which slightly resembles a pipe
  • Much like the Seahorse, it is the male that gets stuck with most of the parenting and child raising (I know, you wish it were like this for humans as well)
  • The Pipefish has the ability to move each of their eyeballs…separately. Yes, one at a time – how cool/creepy is this?!?

What in the World is a Pipefish

As mentioned the Pipefish is in the same family as the beloved Seahorse. In fact the Pipefish looks like a straightened Seahorse with a dorsal fin. Yes, that’s right this cute, little sea creature actually has a fin. Interestingly enough, this peculiar fin is often the only thing that keeps the Pipefish from being an inanimate object. Who would have thought that such a simple dorsal fin would be responsible for 100% of the movement capabilities. With that said, some individual species also have a highly developed caudal fin, which takes the swimming abilities of the Pipefish to the next level.

Seahorse Relatives - The Pipefish

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Living a Tough Life

At the top of the Wild Fact, I mentioned that the males handle most of the child rearing duties. What I failed to mention was that these child rearing duties start with the eggs. Believe it or not it is the male Pipefish that is responsible for carrying around the eggs – in a specialized egg pouch. Before you start thinking that the males are sweet for over such a burdening responsibility, you should probably know that in some occasions the male will consume the eggs if they are nutrient deficient or if the eggs did not come from a favourable mate. Yes, the males are so shallow that they will refuse to carry the eggs of a mate they did not care for.  Luckily, once the eggs hatch they are instantly independent from their parents and will often once again become a potential food source. Talk about a difficult child hood!

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