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Fish #102 Longspine snipefish Macroramphosus scolopax ~ Mark Loosemore
Digital art 4504 x 2704 pixels
Macroramphosus scolopax is an occasional visitor to the North Sea. It occurs mainly in the Western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine to Argentina and also in the Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Indo-West Pacific mostly in temperate latitudes.
It will be found between the seabed and midwater on the lower continental shelf, over sand. Juveniles have been found in oceanic surface waters whereas adults normally live close to the bottom, normally in 50-350 m depth. The Longspine Snipefish otherwise known as Bellowfish or Trumpetfish is gregarious. Juveniles feed mainly on pelagic invertebrates, mainly copepods, while adults feed on bottom invertebrates.
The juvenile snipefish is silvery with a bluish black back whereas the adult is reddish above and silvery below. Some variations in colour appear due to the highly reflective nature of the body which is free of scales but is nonetheless armoured.
They reach a normal maximum size of about twenty three centimetres.
All the names by which this fish is known obviously relate to the extensive spine on the dorsal fin not clearly shown in the illustration but which can be erected as with all dorsal fins if needed to defend against predators. The reference to bellows and trumpets are clearly evident in the extensive snout.
As with all sea-life the threat posed to the Snipefish by pollution is all too real and even bottom feeders in the depths of our oceans are not exempt from this potentially damaging situation. It is therefore vitally important that all countries address the problem before it becomes irreversible.
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