Logged in with social media?
Click below to join the zones and ASK and VOTE for your favourite species…
No one knows. We usually live at fairly low densities and spread out near the coast and out at sea around the UK.
Around 450Mb I think.
A tetrapod, some sort of frog-like creature.
I should be sequenced because...: I represent an ancestral state to the more advanced pregnancies of seahorses, thus I can shed light into the evolution of fish pregnancy.
I belong to the family Syngnathidae, which includes all pipefishes, seahorses and the exotic sea dragons. In our family only males care for the young and the evolution of our brooding structures drove speciation in our family, that is, the diversity of brooding structures led to the evolution of different species among us. But I’m different from all others. I am not dependent on marine plants for protection. I am the only oceanic species in the Syngnathidae family, which means that I can live almost anywhere in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, both out at sea and in sheltered bays around Europe. Although I’m not a great swimmer I can get pretty far. Scientists believe I travel with the currents in the ocean (a bit like the turtles in finding Nemo) and also that my babies develop faster than those of other species so that they can reach adulthood quicker. Because we are all spread out all over the ocean it’s important to be reproductively mature quickly so we are ready to mate whenever we come across a potential partner. Although we prefer warmer waters, we also seem to be able to mate in colder waters compared to other species around Europe. This ability allows us to mate during more months of the year so that in good years our population can grow really fast.
I am also really beautiful. I am orange-brown in colour, with whitish stripes across my body that sometimes can look bright blue. I guess, I got my common name after my stripes, they make me look like a cute ginger snake. I’m long and slender, although our females have a pronounced keel on their understand that makes them look big and thick. That’s how they try to impress the boys!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Adventurous, solitary and caring.
What's it like where you live?
Sometimes I live in the open ocean, in the water column where all is blue and the same. Sometimes I live on the coast surrounded by marine plants and other animals.
What's your favourite food?
Like blue whales, I love small crustaceans. I just eat a lot less than whales!
What's your family life like?
I'm an excellent father! I attach my babies to my belly and take care of them while they develop, giving them protection from predators and nutrients to help them grow faster. When they are grown up, they hatch from their shells and in no time I am ready to mate again and care for more offspring.
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
Humans don't know enough about me to answer this question. My friends and I live very spread out from each other so sometimes it can be hard to find a mate. We've swam all the way up to northern Norway, as far south as Northern Spain, west to the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic, and we've reached Russia in the east, but our populations numbers can go up and down very quickly so it's hard to say.
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
I'm part of the coolest family in the sea. With my cousins the seahorses and the sea dragons, in our family fathers rules. Only males take care of the babies, attached on or hidden in pouches on our bodies. We provide protection from predators, food, oxygen and osmoregulation so our babies grow fast and healthy!
The champion of this species is...
me, Ines Braga Goncalves. I am a Portuguese scientist based in Bristol and I have been studying pipefishes for 10 years. They are incredible creatures that not only look whimsical, they also show extraordinary adaptations that allow them to show levels of parental care comparable to the mammalian pregnancy.