Bay Pipefish

Bay Pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus ) as seen in our Sandy Shores exhibit.

Visitors to the Aquarium often have to look very carefully to spot the delicate, bright-green bodies of our resident Bay Pipefish. These tiny creatures, which are closely related to seahorses, are common to the Yaquina Bay and estuaries all along the Pacific coast of North America. Nature has cleverly designed the pipefish to look similar to the eelgrass beds in which they reside. These thick forests of aquatic grass are often referred to as “nurseries” because of the variety of sea life they shelter, including some economically important animals like shellfish. The Bay Pipefish will often float or anchor themselves to strands of eelgrass while in a vertical position, rendering it almost invisible to predators (and sometimes to our guests.) The protection and gentle currents of the eelgrass beds is a necessity for the pipefish, as they are poor swimmers who would quickly perish in open or coastal waters. Like their seahorse relatives, male pipefish carry the young in a special pouch until they emerge and swim away.

Range & Habitat

The Bay Pipefish can be found Coral reefs, seagrass beds and estuaries along the Pacific Coast of North America.

Conservation Status

Common, although dried pipefish are used in some cultures as a folk remedy which is increasing their demand and may result in diminishing numbers.