Worm pipefish in a rockpool (collage of painted papers and card) ~ my contribution to the #200Fish project with artists illustrating 200 species of fish from the North Sea.
Hiding amongst the seaweed in the rockpools of the North Sea coast, could be this relative of the seahorse. The worm pipefish (Nerophis lumbriciformis) has a similar upturned snout to a seahorse and exhibits similar behaviour with the parental duties being undertaken by the male.
Females are larger, more colourful and more active than males. After courtship and mating, the female transfers about 150 eggs into a shallow groove on the male’s belly. The male protects the eggs until they hatch as free-swimming baby pipefish and drift away in the current. Here, the males parental responsibilities end.
As breeding is correlated with seawater temperatures below 15.5°C, these fish are likely to be susceptible to changes in ocean temperatures. Extreme site fidelity and homing behaviour has also been documented in worm pipefish so they are perhaps unlikely to respond well to change.
Worm pipefish grow to about 15cm long (illustrated lifesize, artwork size: 21.5cm x 31.5cm).
#200Fish is a project of Transition Town Louth