Sunday, 3 July 2016

Freshwater Pipefish: A Must See

There very few freshwater pipefish species.  Dniester (in Transnistia) and Dnepr (in Ukraine) are home to one of them Syngnathus nigrolineatus or Black Striped Pipefish.  Normally, this pipefish species is found in saltwater (Black Sea).  However, for some unknown reason they have started to show up in completely freshwater rivers.  And they are actually breeding there.

I have heard about freshwater pipefish when I was in Kiev, but I never got a chance to see them in person until I got to Tiraspol.  Here, there are freshwater pipefish populations in the Dniester River.   It took a few tries for me and my friend to actually catch them.

At first, I did not know where to look for them. I've tried netting by the grass near the bank, but now luck at all. Howver, the locals suggested, I go though the underwater weeds with my net. The weeds were slightly deeper and away from the bank. After a few tries I got this nice fat pipefish. I wonder if it's a male (due to it's larger stomache). After that I kept getting tiny pipes. Most of them went right though the net. But I managed to get one of the babies that was slightly larger.

So, as you can see Syngnathus nigrolineatus is clearly here to stay. Not only are they living a completely freshwater environment, but they are also breeding there. Unfortunately, I could not keep any of them because I don't a fish tank set up right now. So all the fish were returned back to the river.

Here we are with our net:

Finally, a nice fat pipefish

Here a baby fresh water pipefish.  There a few even smaller pipes, but they went right through my net and I could not catch them.

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