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I'm a Dragon! Seen during a black water dive, this is most likely a juvenile of Bentstick Pipefish during pelagic phase.  Despite a juvenile, it is around 12-15 cm in length but very slender/thin.  It has 2 long appendages behind its head and a few others towards the tail.  The adult of this species looks more 'ordinary' and usually found on sandy and seagrass bottom, looking like a Stick, hence its common name, Bentstick. Anilao,Batangas,Bentstick Pipefish,Fish,Philippines,Pipefish,Trachyrhamphus bicoarctatus Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

I'm a Dragon!

Seen during a black water dive, this is most likely a juvenile of Bentstick Pipefish during pelagic phase. Despite a juvenile, it is around 12-15 cm in length but very slender/thin. It has 2 long appendages behind its head and a few others towards the tail. The adult of this species looks more 'ordinary' and usually found on sandy and seagrass bottom, looking like a Stick, hence its common name, Bentstick.

    comments (7)

  1. Stunning shot! Posted 9 months ago
    1. Thanks, Yael :) Posted 9 months ago
  2. Nice! Posted 9 months ago
    1. Thanks, Ferdy :) Posted 9 months ago
  3. From today's Facebook post:

    Fish, seahorse, snake, or dragon? Hmm. The bentstick pipefish (Trachyrhamphus bicoarctatus) occurs throughout much of the Indo-West Pacific. It lives in reefs, seagrass beds, and sandy habitats where it feeds on zooplankton. It’s a fish, even though it resembles a straight-bodied seahorse…Or, perhaps a dragon?!

    Pipefish are ovoviviparous, which means that their eggs hatch within the body of the parent. BUT, this is not as straightforward as it sounds because the males are the ones that must endure pregnancy and give birth! A female deposits her eggs in the male’s pouch, located under his tail. He fertilizes them, incubates them, and provides nutrients, immune factors, and oxygen through a placenta-like connection until they are ready to hatch.

    This sounds nice, but there is a definite dark side to paternal pregnancy in pipefish. Pregnancy is exhausting, and if the father gets hungry enough, he will occasionally snack on the developing embryos. Macabre, but this cannibalism isn’t without benefits. Eating his babies replenishes the male’s energy and results in less-crowded eggs. It may be awkward, though, for the pregnant papa to later explain to his mate why he ate their kids.

    Eating his babies is just one of the questionable choices made by these lotharios. For example, a male will actually compromise his current brood if he even catches a GLIMPSE of a larger, more attractive female than his current mate. Large females suggest better genes and healthier eggs. For example, males can reclaim or divert nutrients away from their eggs, thus giving birth to less healthy, premature babies. Or, in the hope of mating with the more buxom female, he may abort some of his brood. In fact, a male can have eggs from multiple females in his pouch at the same time! And, some males have been observed to dote on the eggs that came from the most alluring females by giving them extra nutrients, while neglecting the eggs from more petite females! What a fickle fella, even though his motives are purely to increase the odds that his progeny will be robust. {Spotted in the Philippines by JungleDragon moderator, Albert Kang} #JungleDragon
    Posted 13 days ago
    1. Thanks for the feature, Christine and the detailed info about them :)
      You are doing a great job with it!
      Posted 13 days ago
      1. You're welcome Albert, and thank you for the kind words <3. Posted 12 days ago

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The bentstick pipefish occurs in marine waters throughout much of the Indo-West Pacific. In Australia it lives in bays and estuaries on sand or mud, from the shallows to at least 40 m depth.

Variable in colour from whitish to yellowish, greenish, brown or black, usually with fine speckling and a series of pale saddles. These long slender pipefish often raise themselves off the bottom, bending their heads at an angle to feed on zooplankton drifting by in the current.

Similar species: Pipefishes And Seahorses
Species identified by Albert Kang
View Albert Kang's profile

By Albert Kang

All rights reserved
Uploaded Jan 27, 2019. Captured Dec 27, 2018 21:10.
  • TG-5
  • f/5.6
  • 1/125s
  • ISO3200
  • 12.6mm