bay pipefish

A bay pipefish hidden in a bed of eel grass. Image taken at Aquarium of the Bay.

Pipefish are hardly visible when they’re hanging out in a bed of eel grass. They will even sway gently with the current like the blades of their home to complete the camouflage. If you think they look similar to sea horses, that’s because they are closely related. They have that same face shape and slurp up their food like a vacuum cleaner, since they have no teeth, just like sea horses and sea dragons.

And just like sea horses, in pipefish it is the males that carry the eggs and give birth. The females deposit the eggs on the male. In different species of this family, the males will either carry them in a pouch or just have the eggs stuck to them. In the bay pipefish, the females lay the eggs between flaps on the males abdomen and a protect layer of tissue covers them. When the eggs hatch, little miniature versions of these adorable fish pop out. Here is a MUST SEE video of a pipefish giving birth.