Dusky pipefish are found throughout the western Atlantic, including the Chesapeake Bay! They inhabit coastal seagrass beds, much like the one mimicked in their exhibit. During the colder seasons, the fish move farther offshore and out of the seagrass beds.
Female dusky pipefish can produce an unlimited number of eggs, but the males are responsible for carrying the fertilized eggs in their front brood pouches. Since this pouch can only hold a limited number of eggs, larger males are often more appealing partners for females. Male dusky pipefish will carry the eggs for about 10 days, providing nutrients and protection to their eggs.
Dusky pipefish will grow to be less than 10 inches in length as adults. They consume grass shrimp and other small crustaceans.
Coastal seagrass beds are extremely important to the life of the dusky pipefish, but the water quality of these habitats is threatened by sedimentation, coastal run-off, sewage outflows, disturbance from boat traffic and destructive fishing activity. The continued conservation of these areas is crucial for species such as the dusky pipefish!
Want to help fish like the dusky pipefish? Get involved! Learn how to volunteer at one of our conservation events here.