Can you identify this juvenile Ghost Pipe Fish, because the internet couldn’t and neither can I, but really in all seriousness this family of Sygnathiformes is so rare that it is extremely hard to document correctly, which is why I was so excited when I stumbled upon this little guy in the middle of basically what is broken rubble from a dead reef where I had seen absolutely nothing for the last 20 minutes.
This juvenile Ghost Pipe fish was literally only 2 cm across, if that. It’s hard to believe how small it was, when I first saw him it was because I had stopped to show my customers a Kuhl Stingray, so while they were getting photos of that I was looking about for more and noticed something tiny flitting about on the rubble, it just looked out of place so I investigated and low and behold, something I’d never seen before, also sadly something I have not seen since, a juvenile Ghost Pipe Fish of an unidentified sub family.
I spent a good ten minutes snapping photos of this guy, I assumed correctly that it wasn’t a well documented species, as all my studies in the area of Sygnathiformes I had never seen a photo of this type of Ghost Pipe fish. So I took lots of photos for proof. It was extremely difficult to get him in focus with my macro lenses, Ghost Pipe fish don’t like to stay still, they are always moving around trying to avoid the lights, but after a while we became good friends, personally I think he just figured I wasn’t going anywhere till I got a good shot of him and this was his way of getting rid of me, so he stayed quite still for me to take a few nice lateral shots like this one.
I was extremely happy to see this little guy and even more elated to get a good photo of him, his reds are so very vibrant and I love the colorful baubles he has on his underside pectoral fin, the photo also captures some of his transparency as juveniles have not fully finished camouflaging to their natural environment and retain patches of completely see-through areas on their bodies.