MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Worm pipefish (Nerophis lumbriciformis)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Nerophis lumbriciformis has a slender, smooth worm like body up to 15 cm long. Its snout is short and upturned. It has a small dorsal fin but no pectoral, anal or tail fins. The dorsal surface is dark green or brown in colour while the lower side and ventral surfaces are paler, white to yellowish in colour, sometimes with paler spots or bars.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found on the south and west coasts of Britain and Ireland, with few records from the east coast presumably due to lack of suitable habitat, although a record exists for Lynemouth, Northumberland (see JNCC, 1999).

Global distribution

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Habitat

Found under boulders or amongst seaweed on the lower shore and shallow water.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Slender, elongate body, round in section.
  • Short upturned snout.
  • No pectoral, anal or tail fins.
  • Dorsal fin with 24 -28 rays.
  • The body bears 17 - 21 rings between head and anus; 46-54 behind anus.

Additional information

Nerophis lumbriciformis eats small crustaceans like copepods. Like seahorses, the males protect the eggs until they hatch. The female transfers about 150 eggs into a shallow groove on the male's belly. Egg-carrying males can be found from May to August.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. FishBase, 2000. FishBase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2001-05-03

  3. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  5. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  6. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  7. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Ager, O.E.D. 2008. Nerophis lumbriciformis Worm pipefish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1913

Last Updated: 29/04/2008