Ornate Ghost Pipefish - Solenostomus paradoxus

Photograph by Roger Steene

© 2000 by Image Quest 3-D
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This creature, also known as the Harlequin Ghost Pipefish (Order Syngnathiformes, Family Solenostomidae), belongs to a small family related to the pipefish and sea horses that live in seaweed and sea grass beds. Unlike their relatives - where the male carries the eggs to incubate them - the female ghost pipefish holds the incubating eggs between two skin folds on the belly. The 'paradoxical' shape of the ghost pipefish, combined with its brightly coloured and highly ornamented skin, provides superb camouflage. A baby shrimp or other such prey would not expect a mouth at the end of such a strange leafy form. It also has different colour forms to fit its background.

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2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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