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Longspine snipefish

Macrorhamphosus scolopax

Description: A relative of seahorses, sea dragons and pipefish, the Longspine snipefish is also known
as Bellows fish for the way its fused jaws draw in water through its long snout. They are an compressed oval-shaped species with a tube-like snout. Towards the caudal fin, the second spine of the dorsal fin is almost as long as the snout and when folded flat, it looks like part of the caudal fin. The rear edge of this spine is distinctly serrated. They are yellowish-pink to reddish-pink on top with silvery bellies. Due to the rigid body, Longspine snipefish swim by use of their soft dorsal and anal fins.

Size: They can reach lengths of about eight inches (20 cm), snout included, but more often they are less than five inches (12 cm).

Behavior: Longspine snipefish are gregarious, forming large schools when looking for food. Usually swimming vertically, head down, they are interesting to watch, looking somewhat like synchronized swimmers.

Diet: The toothless mouth, at the end of its long snout sucks up small bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Juveniles feed on pelagic copepods.

Senses: These fish use their proportionately large eyes for locating prey.

Reproduction: Longspine snipefish are open water spawners; eggs and larvae are pelagic.

Habitat/range: Longspine are coastal fish, commonly found in temperate waters throughout most of the world, usually in deep muddy seabeds.

Status: Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.