How to describe this amazing creature to a non-diver, the Ornate or Harlequin Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus), is there a more beautiful creature on the planet? Can any living being bear such a startling resemblance to a bizarre and elaborate dragon ordinarily only to be found wandering in the fantasy world of your wildest dreams?
Even when I find Ornate Ghost Pipefish to this day I am astonished by their grace and beauty, its magnificent camouflage, its shy demeanor, otherworldly and cryptic, they really do fill me with emotion and I could watch them for hours underwater, how can we be alone in this universe when the planet is populated by creatures like the Ornate Ghost pipefish!!!!
A master of camouflage the Ghost Pipefish hovers motionless often in male & female pairs and small groups exactly mimicking it’s surrounding environment, swaying in the water movement like a piece of sea grass, a crinoid (feather star), a sea whip, sea sponges or leaves and twigs. An opportunist ambush predator snaffling food mostly tiny shrimps and zooplankton as it comes swimming/floating into striking range.
Without doubt the most ‘Ornate’ of the Ghost Pipefish the Harlequin mimic crinoid feather stars and take on the extraordinary colors, patterns and textures of their hosts, no words can really do their form justice, the pictures speak for themselves.
If you’re visiting All4Diving in the near future be sure to keep your eyes peeled as these critters can pop up on any of the Bali dive sites and in particular the Amed and Tulamben areas, Ghost City in Amed being an obvious favorite!!