Whilst out walking my dogs as I do every day on beach at Seascale in West Cumbria., something unusual caught my eye. It looked like a cross between a sea horse and a snake. When I returned home I looked it up on the internet and through a site linked to your own, I identified it as a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus. It was still alive, though stranded on the sand it could still move in a snake like fashion. Not wanting it to become seagull food, I moved it into a rock pool which when left alone swivelled itís body from side to side like a sea snake with just itís head sticking out of the water. The tide was ebbing and was about half way out when I found the 40cm + creature.
August to September 2007
Snake Pipefishes, Entelurus aequoreus, have been seen in huge numbers at sea and on the shore off the coast of Cornwall.
c. 17 August 2007
We have just been diving in Eyemouth (Weasel Loch) and saw a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus. Our sighting was at approx. 7 metres at the bottom of Weasel Loch in south-east Scotland. He was about 40 cm long.
11 July 2007
I took my daughter Keira (aged 3) to the north beach at Bridlington, East Yorkshire, and built a sandcastle for her and whilst doing so I dug up a dead/dried up Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus. I still have it in my little girls bucket.
27 June 2007
The Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, (immediately below left) was discovered on a raised platform 5 metres above sea level at Dounreay, north Scotland, and the tides have been low recently, and the sea relatively calm, so we don't understand how it got onto the platform. It was still moist and pliable when we discovered it, so perhaps it was dropped there by a bird.
The Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, (immediate left) was discovered on the North Alwyn North Sea oil rig over 60 metres above the water so it was probably dropped by a gull.
Report by Neil Punshon
We found a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, at Tayport in Fife, Scotland. I found it in rocks near the edge of the water, it was dead and quite dried up. We didn't know what it was but your website helped us find out. We have kept it in the garden. I called him
Jamie. Everyone thought it was a stick but I knew it was a fish because it has eyes. I like finding things at the beach and I like
finding out what they are.
I found around 50 to 100 Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, washed up on the coast at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, all dead, on the high tide line following storms. They measured approximately 35 cm.
I caught four Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, in my prawn nets in the harbour at Lowestoft, Suffolk. Some of these (the males) had eggs along the underside.
In this brilliant sequence of photographs, Nic Davies (Splashdown Direct.com), captures a European Otter, Lutra lutra, in the process of capturing a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, on the Isle of Mull (map), Argyll and Bute, Inner Hebrides, SW Scotland.
May 2007 & 1 June 2007
I have just returned from our holiday in Filey, Yorkshire, where we found Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, on the beach. There were about 50 dead ones and a few that were still alive which we returned to the sea. A few of them (the males) had eggs on their bellies. On the 1 June 2007 we had a walk to Filey Brigg were the majority of the rockpools had live ones in them.
16 May 2007
I found three Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, at Oxwich Bay in lower shore rockpools. One was on own in small open pool and the other two were under some seaweed, Fucus serratus.
3 May 2007
A Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, was found on the strandline at Walberswick, Suffolk, just south of Southwold Harbour, around midday. I thought it had only just been washed ashore and hoping it might revive put it back in the sea - where my Labrador immediately retrieved it! It looked no worse (or better) for wear after that though! The sea state was rough on a high tide with a strong wind from NNE.
Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, were discovered in a rockpool at Whitley Bay on the north east coast of England.
Report and Photograph
by Geoff Dargue
We did a little beachcoming at at Sea Palling, Norfolk, and found about 20 unusual creatures (dead) which we have identified, by looking at your website, as Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus. We have never noticed them before. They were in amongst the seaweed and debris washed up by the tide, dried out, some straight, some curled, but many of them were complete. Their heads reminded us of seahorses and they had snake-like bodies. The colours varied slightly, some very pale, some grey-brown, one quite yellowy with a brown line through its face - the latter was the longest, being about 38 cm.
17 April 2007
I found one Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, in a rockpool in Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire.
8 -9 April 2007
Alexandra (my daughter aged 9) and I found hundreds of live (some only just) Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, washed ashore on south Mapplethorpe beach (midway north of Skegness and south of Grimsby) over two days. My guess is that there were many more further up and down the coast since there were a number of gulls active on the waters edge and evidence of them feasting on the fish, a few tails remained at points where the gulls had been earlier. Not sure if this is a coincidence or not but during high tide we had seen a number of Porpoises close to shore.
There was a wide variation in size and colours of the Snake Pipefish we found most were about 25-35 cm long, but some were much shorter at about 10-15 cm long. The colours varied from golden through greens and yellows, a number of the smaller ones were red/brown (not sure if they were juveniles or a different species). There are probably a number of souvenirs of this day since a number of holiday makers were taking the dried dead ones away with them (or using them to decorate their sand castles).
We spent over much of our bank holiday happily returning them to the sea.
8 April 2007
Myself and my family found a single, live Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, stranded on the beach at Saltburn on the north east coast of England. We returned the poor creature to the shallows where it immediately revived and 'slithered' out to sea. We felt decidedly pleased with ourselves afterwards!
Whilst walking along the shoreline at Withernsea, East Riding of Yorkshire, we came across three pipefish which were a bright gold rather than the duller gold of the photos. Two were stranded but still alive and I returned them to the sea, the third was dead but still very brightly coloured. Today we came across two more which were the duller colour and definitely Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus; again I returned them to the sea but they seemed to be very sluggish although I saw no signs later so assume they returned to sea. The tide was fairly close to low water at both times.
2 April 2007
At approx 1.15 am my husband came home from fishing on the Thames Estuary at Erith, Kent with a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, about 7 inches in length. We were so amazed we had to bring it home and photograph it. We also breed seahorses but unfortunately discovered that our tank waters are far too warm for this particular pipefish so back it went into the Thames.
Five Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, were seen stranded on the beach by equinoctial high spring tide at Spittal (Northumberland) south of Berwick-upon-Tweed (NU 006 519). They were still just about alive and were returned to the sea.
Report by Neil Dickson
I found a 20 cm Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, in barely submerged floating broken seaweed on a sandy ground next to rocks at Whitburn, just north of Sunderland. This appeared to be a single specimen and it was discovered an hour after the tide turned. It appears to be a male due to pouch and in good condition.
There are local infomal reports of Cod caught locally that had been dsicovered feeding on these more open sea pipefish from their stomach contents.
I am currently studying this animal in a marine aquarium.
I was walking the dog at Tynemouth today and there were hundreds of what I now know to be Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, washing up on the high tide on the Long Sands. Some were alive and I spent a while with other dog-walkers returning them to the sea.
Whilst birdwatching on the beach between Marke and Redcar on the North-east coast of England (postcode TS11) I saw literally hundreds of what look like Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, washed up on the shore. Most were dead but some were still alive. I have never seen this fish in our waters before.
I found this Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, (photographed above) washed up alive on the beach at Saltburn, Cleveland. It was 40 cm long. There were hundreds of them along the shoreline, most were alive and we put quite a few of them back into the sea. The sea was quite rough that day.
Walking at Seaburn beach, Sunderland, this morning, about 2 hours after high tide, we found approx 20 to 30 of what we now know to be pipefish washed up on the beach, just below the high water mark. They were up to approx 300 mm long, more or less parallel sided for their whole length, similar to a snake. At first they were mistaken for stems of seeaweed, being a similar shape and colour.
I have just returned from a walk on my local beach (Tynemouth Longsands, North Tyneside). Whilst strolling along the strandline we noticed many (hundreds, perhaps thousands) dead Pipefish. They appear to have been there for less than 12 hours. The current sea state is very rough with an inshore directional wind.
I was on the beach at Cambois in Northumberland when I discovered what looked looked hundreds of eels all along the high tide mark, lots of them still alive, so my partner and I returned as many as we could to the receding tide and they sure swam off with what appeared to be great joy, took a photo of one of the fish and then found that the eels were in fact Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, when looked up on the Internet.
I saw thousands of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, on Longsands, Tynemouth. They appeared to be dead, but when handled, they slowly wriggled. I tried to return some to the sea but they just kept being swept back to shore. I hope that the rising tide would have returned them back to sea.
28 January 2007
I was filling up my bird feeder looked down and saw what I now know is a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, after getting my son to check on the internet and he came up with your website.
We live in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. I live on the coast road on the west coast near Port Grat. Initially I thought it was a slow worm shedding its tail but when I put my glasses on and picked it up as it was obviously dead and dried out but perfect in one piece. I realised it had gills and the top fin had dried against its body. It has dried in the shape of a question mark its head reminds me of a seahorse and body of a small snake. I thought you might be interested and I can only guess that it was dropped by a passing seagull.
A Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, was seen alive on Saltburn Beach, Cleveland.
We found many dead Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, along Blyth beach this morning. All were within metres of each other but all dead washed up on the shoreline.
I was walking my dog along the beach at Seaton Sluice, south Northumberland, on Sunday when I noticed him hoovering up what looked to be seaweed. It was the same every day this week. I now have identified these as Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus. There must have been hundreds of them washed up.
Pipefish washed up at Immingham
on the River Humber estuary.
Report and Photograph by Martin HopperNB: This is a small specimen and I am not absolutely sure of its ID.
My husband and I found six pipefish in different places along a short area of Hornsea beach (East Yorkshire) in the morning. The tide was going out and they were on the sand, just about alive. We put them in the sea.
5 January 2007
I found a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, on Great Yarmouth north beach, washed up on last night's high tide. The fish was roughly 35 cm long.
29 October 2006
Pipefish are now swarming the sea around Shetland. I have seen them while off fishing, lying dead at the side of the marina (dragged up by an otter) and dropped around by seabirds. The Skeld Marina on the west side of Shetland is alive with pipefish - enough to keep 2 resident Guillemots fed apparently. The oil and general mess of the marina waters does not appear to be putting off these fish or the many birds, seals and otters that appear to be feeding on them, within and outwith the marina.
Until a couple of years ago pipefish were a virtual unknown around here - nobody had heard of them even. Now they appear to have supplanted sand eels as the main small feed fish for other creatures. I say this because sand eel populations are reported to have crashed, while there is no doubt the pipefish are now a very common fish here - and this has happened in the span of a couple of years.
I have also heard fishermen say that the sea around Orkney is thick with pipefish and that is a new phenomenom for them too. Other warm water species are also increasingly prevalent - even tuna seen between Orkney and Shetland.
my own angling observations, haddock, which was plentiful in 2004/2005
was almost entirely absent on the patches I have fished on this year (all
within a mile of the shore). There was some cod around including quite
decent sized fish. Ling has been plentiful and there has been so much mackerel
in the sea all summer that sometimes it has been difficult to hit the seabed
with your gear. That has been the case with the big commercial mackeral
boats also - some have taken their remaining end of the year quota
in 2 weeks (ie several thousand tonnes of big-sized fish)!
Is the appearance of "exotic" species down to global warming? I cannot think of anything else that could have such a rapid and radical effect. This summer had been exceptional in Shetland. We just had our first (very savage it has to be said) winter gale on 25/26 October. Normally, severe gales start around mid-end September. We've had at least a month extra on the norm for the growing season and the summer has been generally warm if not exceptional for temperatiure. We'll maybe see if it develops into a trend?
I don't know what species these pipefish are, having not studied them in detail. I would say they are a pinkish, orange colour, but I'll use your notes for identification.
1 - 8 October 2006
I have seen two pipefish taken by Common Gull and notably one eaten by a female Eider at Hauxley, Northumberland. I have identified these as Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus.
I caught a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, in a rockpool at Westgate in Kent.
Report and Photograph
by Joe Pickhaver (Age 5)
I caught a Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, about 40 cm long, on the low tide at Caernarfon north Wales. I caught it in a prawn net in a patch of Sargassum muticum. My son found a dead pipefish on the beach last year - it looks like a Snake Pipefish also, now that I have seen one living.
3 September 2006
We live at Lowestoft, Suffolk and found a live Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, which had been washed up on the beach by a wave. We did not know what is was and used the internet to identify it. It was approx 35 cm long.
11 August 2006
I found a single Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, at the Mumbles, Swansea at approx. 15:00 in weed at low tide. Other finds included a Worm Pipefish, numerous small Corkwing and Ballan Wrasse, Rock Gobies, and a number of Sea Scorpions. The pier pilings supported large numbers of Plumose Anemones however the growths of Dead Man's Fingers I have seen before appeared absent.
I have received numerous (well over a dozen) reports of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, from around the northern and eastern coast of Britain from divers seeing live fish and beachcombers discovering dead fish on the strandline. There were too many reports for me to include all of them on this web page.
All this July there have been massive breeding aggregations of Snake Pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus around Flamborough Head Yorkshire.
(Identification under enquiry)
The pictures were taken on
07 January 2006. The location was at depth 25 metres on SMS Koln, Scapa
Flow Orkney 58 deg 59' 26.6"N 02 deg 58' 24.1"W, water temp 7 deg C, there
were three of these fish.
|It looks like a Velvet
puber, has caught and is eating one of these pipefish.
Report and Photograph
by Kevin Wilson (Loganair Ltd)
MARINE WILDLIFE OF
THE NORTH-EAST ATLANTIC OCEAN
(LINK TO EFORUM PAGE)
&/or join and send pictures to
flickrBritish Marine Life Gallery
The Snake Pipefish can be easily recognised because, as its name suggests, it looks like a snake. Its length is about 40 cm for the male and 45 cm for the female. Its body is round and supple with a thickness of 4 - 6 mm. It is usually coloured in a yellow-gold-brown shade, ringed approximately every 4 mm by bands of blue edged with black, from just behind the gills down to the tail. I hesitate to say tail because the vestige of a caudal fin is not noticeable.
The fish is said
to be uncommon throughout most of its range all around the British Isles,
but it is common from Swansea west to Pembrokeshire. Books report it as
an open sea species, in contrast to the other British pipefishes which
occupy coastal areas. However, it is regularly found at the very low spring
tide mark off south Wales. All reports of this fish should be sent in to
House so we can gauge the frequency of this fish.
Snake PipefishIn aquaria the Snake Pipefish thrives if fed on live mysids. It should be kept away from the Sea Stickleback, Spinachia spinachia, which is a notorious fin-nipper and bully to smaller fishes. The maximum temperature for this fish is 180C.
Snake Pipefish regularly
come inshore along the Dorset coast in May and June, presumably to breed.
All the fish I have seen have been amongst the small brown seaweed Halidrys
siliquosa. (Jane Lilley)
Jim Hall (Swansea) has bred this fish in aquaria, watching the courtship, eggs hatching from the males pouch etc. 1999.
by Jim Hall
Three male Snake Pipefish and one female have been in my aquarium for at least two years and suddenly, on 28 July 1999, eggs were spotted on the belly of one male! Excited is an understatement. Although I had not witnessed the actual laying of the eggs onto the male's belly there was no question that it had happened in my tank. I removed that male to a quieter tank and within 14 days another male was carrying eggs, so I removed that one as well to see if the third male would receive any eggs. He is a younger male and so far he is not carrying eggs.
Following the birth, after approximately 14 days, of the eggs from the first male pipefish, I replaced this fish back into the larger 2 metre aquarium with the female and the younger male. Two weeks later that same male had eggs on his belly once again but still no eggs on the younger fish. The belly region of the female that has been quite distended since January has now retracted, presumably meaning that spawning is over for this year.
aquarium was cooled to 15° C with a System
|Scientific Name (Frequency)||Common Name||Location||Grid Ref.||Date||Recorder||Comments|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Oxwich Bay Gower||12-Mar-93||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||5-Jul-93||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Gelliswick Bay Milford Haven||29-Mar-94||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Oxwich Bay, Gower||22/07/94||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Gelliswick Bay Milford Haven||07/09/94||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Port Eynon Gower||31/07/96||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Gelliswick Bay Milford Haven||08-Apr-97||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||08/07/97||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Oxwich Bay Gower||22/09/98||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (2)||Snake Pipefish||Oxwich Bay Gower||07/10/98||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||27/08/99||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||25/10/99||Jim Hallemail@example.com|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Oxwich Bay Gower||30/08/00||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Enterelus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Off Worthing Pier Sussex||June 2000||Paul Parsons||Diver.Parsons@btinternet.com||Rare record|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||13/12/00||Jim Hallemail@example.com||Winter|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||February 2001||Jim Hallfirstname.lastname@example.org||Winter|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Bamburgh
Beach in Northumberland
|9 June 2002||Rachael Plews
|email@example.com||Washed up dead|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Treaddur Bay, Anglesey||15 March 2003||Bill Richardsonfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alive, mid-tidal pool|
|Enterulus aequeorus (quite a few)||Snake Pipefish||Mumbles Swansea||7 August 2003||Julian Wynnemail@example.com||Shallows near the shore|
|Enterulus aequeorus (1)||Snake Pipefish||Ynys Llas nr Borth in west Wales||10 February 2005||Laurence Howellsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Washed up on the beach alive and returned to the sea|
by ANDY HORTON
Always good to see this type of information. My experience with these fish in Cornwall is they can be found all year round, but are easier to catch in the Summer months as they hide in strong growths of red seaweed, and therefore can be netted. In the Winter, they are usually found under large (i.e. the largest I can lift, probably 30-35 kilos) stones.
I have never managed to spot a vestigial tail fin either. Other than size, the distinguishing feature of this fish (at least here) is the presence of Kingfisher blue bands around the body, which they all exhibit.
previously reported to you, Enterulus aequoreus is a not uncommon
find in SE Cornwall. I have found to date some 120 specimens over seven
years on the exposed reef at Hannafore Point, Looe, and have kept them
with some success in
my aquaria, the larger adults being quite spectacular residents, as they swim around happily in mid-water and do not display the habit of other pipefish of constantly hiding. Fish 20-30cm are normally found, males and females, usually in association with the larger red seaweeds, especially Palmaria palmata.
I've only seen them close to the seabed among algae, mainly Halidrys siliquosa, the Sea Oak, where they are fairly inconspicuous. But they are also said to swim at the surface in summer, especially among floating algal debris, and often far out to sea. Perhaps the stream of bubbles resembles the turbulence and bubbles at the surface in choppy seas. Could food be more abundant there, so they seek out those conditions? Or perhaps they just like the water movement?
We also have three Snake
Pipefish in the Sea Discovery
Centre here at Axmouth, now quite used to taking frozen gamma foods,
blood worm, chopped cockle or mussel. These were caught back in May 2000
by a local fisherman in his prawn pots close to shore. Two Worm
Pipefish were also found rockpooling (one
of which was carrying eggs), which are also feeding well on the above.
Entelurus aequoreus (swedish name "större havsnål") is reasonably common on the Swedish west coast. I see some every year, usually in summer while snorkelling over eel grass, but one time I observed one in December, when it was trying to catch overwintering sticklebacks.
a pic of a Swedish Snake Pipefish, for some inscrutible reason placed under
the heading Littorina saxatilis - please check that this is the
fish we're talking about)
to a list of all species of fish found in swedish waters,with notes on
occurrence and threat level.
Norén, Doctoral student,
Stockholm University and Tel: Int +46 (0)8 5195 5163
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Fax: Int +46 (0)8 5195 4125
"Nihil umquam facile"
A Snake Pipefish curled around my camera.Video grab by Robert Walker
Pipefish washed up dead on Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland
The new Collin's Pocket Guide to Fish of Britain & Europe have excellent colour illustrations of all the British pipefishes.
Study of the Greater Pipefish