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Ornate Ghost Pipefish gives birth at Steinhart Aquarium [video]

By Matt Wandell - Posted Jun 05, 2011 08:00 PM
One of the unique finds of the California Academy of Sciences' recent Philippine Biodiversity Expedition is a pair of rare Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Shortly after arrival the female gave birth and the staff are now working to raise what may be the world's first captive reared Ghost Pipefish.
Ornate Ghost Pipefish gives birth at Steinhart Aquarium [video]

Ornate Ghost Pipefish taken at Sabah, MY. Photo by Barry Peters, Flickr.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish Larvae.
Ornate Ghost Pipefish Larvae.

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.

Videos


 

The pair:

Female fanning eggs:

Hatched larvae:

Female eating live mysid:

Larval videos:

Author: Matt Wandell
Location: San Francisco

Matt is an Aquatic Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco where he helps tend to the 200,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef exhibit, and has been an avid reefkeeping hobbyist since 1999.

Website: www.calacademy.org.

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