Ornate Ghost Pipefish gives birth at Steinhart Aquarium [video]
The Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) is a distant relative of seahorses and pipefishes that sports some of the finest camouflage in the animal kingdom. These fish hover motionless among crinoids, sea fans, and soft corals and perfectly mimic the appearance of their hosts. In true syngnathids (seahorses and pipefishes) the male has the burden of carrying the eggs until they are ready to hatch, but in Ghost Pipefishes the females carries the eggs in a special pouch between her greatly enlarged pelvic fins. Inside this pouch she tirelessly fans the eggs to keep them well aerated.
As part of the California Academy of Sciences' recent Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, a pair of Ornate Ghost Pipefish were carefully collected and shipped by Academy Staff to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco to give the public the unique opportunity to see these extraordinary fish firsthand. Egg brooding was observed in the female and she was sequestered until releasing the larvae. The larvae are approximately 6-7mm long and may be large enough to take rotifers or copepod larvae as a first food. The days to come will be very exciting as Academy staff work tirelessly to raise what may be the world's first captive reared Ghost Pipefish.
Female fanning eggs:
Female eating live mysid: