A Rare and Delightful Seine Haul

April 28, 2023

On April 27, 2023, Windy Hill Middle School 7th graders were able to observe a unique event during one of the seine hauls on the CHESPAX canoeing field trip.  After the students walked the fishing net to the shore of the Patuxent River they were rewarded with a rare appearance from a Northern Pipefish.  Though this fish exists in healthy numbers in the Chesapeake Bay, it has been a special occurrence to catch one from a seining survey.  The last pipefish caught on this field trip was recorded 10 years ago in 2013!!

CHESPAX instructor Linda Subda holding a pipefish
A Northern Pipefish

A Little Bit About the Northern Pipefish

The Northern Pipefish, Syngnathus fucus, is one of two kinds of pipefish that live in the Chesapeake Bay. Pipefish are slender and between 6 to 8 inches in length. Their color can vary between pale tan to brown and their bodies are covered with rings of bony plates. They are related to the seahorse and the family resemblance is obvious when looking at the small mouth and fused snout. This snout acts as a straw to suck up tiny crustaceans for feeding. These fish are masters at camouflaging in the SAV of the bay because they look so much like a piece of grass.