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Fish #104 Worm Pipefish Nerophis lumbriciformis ~ Rachel Shaw
Collage of paper and card painted with acrylics 21 x 31 cm
Though more common on the west coast, hiding amongst the seaweed in the rockpools of the North Sea coast could be this relative of the seahorse. The worm pipefish has a similar upturned snout to a seahorse and exhibits similar behaviour with the parental duties being undertaken by the males. 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
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