Since arriving at Two Fish Divers Lembeh in January, we try to go on a house reef dive at least a couple of times a week to see what we have living out there. On one of our first dives with Nigel, he came across a pair of Ornate Ghost Pipefish ( Solenostomus paradoxus) and we are happy to report that we continue to see them on most dives on the house reef.
As you can see from the photos the larger female of the two pipefish is aerating her eggs and on a recent dive ( unfortunately without the camera) we had seen that the eggs have now been released – so lets hope soon we’ll have lots of Ornate Ghost Pipefish living on our house reef!!
The Ornate Ghost Pipefish can be recognized by its distinctive body form – with thin appendages off its body and fins. Its coloration can vary from almost totally black to almost semi-transparent with red, yellow and white scribbling, spots and blotches. They tend to be found in protected areas, in particular hiding in above crinoids, black corals and gorgonian fans and due to their clever camouflage they are often over looked! They feed mostly on mysids and benthic shrimp.
There is evidence to that suggest Ghost Pipefish settle as males and later, dependent on social and environmental conditions, some will change into females. This change starts a growth spurt and the development of brooding pouch which can hold up to 300 eggs and larvae.
Thanks to Gizmo for some great photos!