Snake pipefish, a danger to seabirds

This is a video of a snake pipefish.

From British weekly The Observer:

Birds choke to death on migrant fish

Baffled scientists warn of a ‘catastrophic’ impact as snake pipefish flood into British waters

Britain’s sea birds are facing a deadly new threat from a population explosion of strange, seahorse-like creatures in our coastal waters. The snake pipefish, virtually unknown around the UK in 2002, has undergone a massive, baffling and dangerous expansion since then, scientists have discovered.

Divers report seeing hundreds on single dives, while dozens of pipefish – which can grow to more than 18 inches in length – have been found in the nests of puffins [see also here; and here], kittiwakes, terns and other sea birds.

The discovery has alarmed biologists because they have found that chicks are choking to death on the rigid, bony bodies of pipefish, while adults are feeding on them despite the fact they have very little nutritional value.

The implications for future generations of sea birds – already badly affected by depletion of Atlantic and North Sea fish stocks – are alarming, scientists warned at a meeting of the Zoological Society in London last week.

A monogamous pipefish has the same type of ovary as observed in monogamous seahorses: here.

5 thoughts on “Snake pipefish, a danger to seabirds

    Buccalo, The Gentle Giant
    With his bulging eyes, full lips, and gentle demeanor, Buccalo makes a lasting impression on all who visit his tank. This giant sea bass arrived at Steinhart Aquarium as a foot-long youngster in 1981. Today, he is over four feet long and weighs 165 pounds. But he is still considered a young adult; giant sea basses have been known to live 75 years, attain a length of seven feet, and weigh over 600 pounds!

    The giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) is a critically endangered species found off the coast of California and Mexico. Fished recreationally and commercially to near extinction since the mid-1800s, it was not protected until the late 1970s. Today, this rarely seen fish is making a gradual comeback due to its slow sexual maturity and a single annual spawn.

    Buccalo is one of the few giant sea basses on display in the world. During feeding time, he likes to approach the surface of the water and suck the food right out of his caregiver’s hand. He is also a curious fish and will peer over the shoulder of a diver cleaning his tank walls. He gets along well with his tankmates – California moray eels – and will stare at them for long periods or even rest on top of them. Look for Buccalo in a “Tank of Giants” when the new Academy opens.

    Source: California Academy of Sciences, March 2008.


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