If you have ever been diving wondering why your guide looks at every stick and leaf on the sea floor, this guy here is half of your answer, the Bent Stick Pipe Fish. Instead of camouflage this amazing animal uses bio mimicry to hide from predators by looking almost exactly like a broken stick lying on the sand, when viewed from the top it’s almost impossible to distinguish them from the twigs they are probably lying next to or near, they stay dead still also and don’t move at all, making them masters of hide and go seek.
When you do find them, as with many Sygnathiformes they tend to color themselves to their surroundings, you see many of them as a uniform dark brown, again think broken twig, sometimes you will find all white ones, all black ones and every so often you also get bright yellow ones. This was the first time I’d found magenta Bent Stick, it was in a non twiggy area, as you can see from the photo he was in a pile of rubble and broken rocks with purple and red color so that was the color he had chosen to help him hide.
I’d say he has been hiding in this area for quite some time because he was one of the larger Bent Stick Pipe Fish I’ve come across, he wasn’t overly perturbed by me either, so I was able to get some nice shots of him without him moving out of the light. It was also a day when I didn’t have students, so you can see the real lack of particulate matter in the photo allowing a shot with almost no back scatter from sand & silt being kicked up. Watch your dam fins!