Bay pipefish

Just another blade of grass—or is it?

At first glance, it’s easy to miss the long, pencil-slim body of the bay pipefish. Its shape and color help it blend in with the slender seagrasses among which it lives. By aligning itself vertically and swaying back and forth, it looks like just another blade of grass.

shiner perch
Slurping their supper
Bay pipefish eat tiny crustaceans, fish and fish eggs. They have fused jaws and long snouts. To eat, they get their toothless mouths an inch or so away from their prey and slurp.
Swimming upright
In place of scales, jointed, bone-like rings encircle the bay pipefish’s body. It uses its tiny fins to swim, typically keeping its body in a vertical position. Bay pipefish steer by moving their heads from side to side.
World’s greatest (fish) dad?
Like their seahorse relatives, bay pipefish are ovovivivparous (meaning that eggs develop within the parent’s body rather than being laid and hatching externally). After an elaborate courting ritual in which the female takes the lead, she places eggs on the brood patch on the underside of her chosen male’s body. The male incubates and protects the eggs—even providing nourishment from his own abdominal wall—until they hatch a couple of weeks later as miniature versions of grown bay pipefish.


Quick Facts

Diet: Carnivorous
Size: Up to 15"