On The Eleventh Dive of Christmas, My Buddy Gave to Me...
Eleven Pipers Piping - so it sort of had to be pipefish, really, some of the ocean's most intriguing and also beautiful creatures.
Pipefish are like uncoiled relatives of the sea-horse, and along with the third member of the family - sea-dragons - are the only creatures in world where it is the male who gets 'pregnant' and gives birth.
After a long an intricate mating dance, the female will lay her eggs onto a special area of the male's skin,or – in some species – deposit the eggs into a pouch where they can mature. Once the eggs are fertilized, the male will carry them to term, eventually giving birth to hundreds of youngsters.
There are over 200 species of pipefish, some of them very common and easily spotted among the corals and sea grasses of tropical reefs. Others – like the ornate ghost pipefish with its elaborate camoflage – are much less easy to spot. For a brief introduction, check out the article and this short video of the ghost pipefish mating dance...
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