It’s a mouth full but very small, the Juvenile Harlequin (Ornate) Ghost Pipefish our DMTs Mareike and Kris found at the Boga wreck in Kubu. For Mareike this was the first ghost pipefish she saw while diving, so she was extremely excited to find this little guy!
Ghost pipefish are related to seahorses and pipefish. Juveniles are almost transparent (see picture made by Kris and Mareike) and drift through ocean currents. When they reach adult age they settle on the reef in feathered stars and fans. As adults Harlequin ghost pipefish are masters of disguise and are often hard to find.
Their colours can range from white to black and everything in between, their body shape and colour can change based on their environment! Usually, they are found in pairs with the smallest one being the male, and the largest one being the female. This amazing disguise offers them protection and they use it for hunting purposes. They feed of tiny crustaceans, which they suck up with their long snout.
When reproducing the female Harlequin ghost pipefish is the one brooding the eggs. This is uncommon in the family of seahorses and pipefish where usually the male does most of the parenting. When the young hatch they are free swimming and are able to feed themselves, they are immediately independent of the parents and drift off in the current. Because juveniles float with the ocean current they can be found in a wide geographic range.
After spotting the little ghost pipefish baby Kris and Mareike went to do their last dive for the PADI wreck specialty course, they passed the course with flying colours!