It is a slender, elongated fish with a hexagonal cross section, which distinguishes it from its even more filiform relative, Nerophis ophidion, which has a round cross section. The surface of the body is covered with small bony plates. The head resembles that of a seahorse, with a long snout flattened at the sides and a slanting mouth. Unlike the straightnose pipefish, it has a fan-shaped tail fin. The overall colouration is greenish, often with various dark speckles, and the belly is yellow.
It inhabits the eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black and Azov Seas. Its range extends from Varde in Norway to Morocco.
It meets at a depth of about 20m (66ft).
The average size ranges from 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) and the maximum size is 25 cm (10 inches).
Life history and Behavior
Males and females actively court each other for mating, but courtship is more common in females. Courtship and copulation follow a stereotypical pattern, beginning with one fish locating a potential mate nearby and performing a courtship dance. If the other is receptive, they line up and continue the dance together until the female delivers her eggs into the male's brood pouch via the ovipositor. The male then shakes the eggs into his brood pouch, releases sperm into the pouch and assumes an S-shaped position to fertilise the eggs.
Food and feeding habits
The fish typically rests upright among seaweed leaves and feeds on plankton, such as copepods which it sucks up with its mouth.
This fish species has a reverse sex role mating system in which females compete for access to males. They breed in summer. The male has a brood pouch into which several females lay clutches of about twenty eggs and where the eggs are fertilised. The fry hatch after about four weeks and are released into open water. Even after this, the male continues to provide some parental care, as the young can hide in the brood pouch in case of danger.
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Tags: broadnosed pipefish