Macroramphosus scolopax

Within the order Syngnathiformes we find a total of 5 families, in one of them, Centriscidae, we find a total of 9 different genera, one of which is Macroramphosus, to which the longspine snipefish or Macroramphosus scolopax belongs. The genus of this species is characterized by a large beak, a fact that determines the name of the genus, since it comes from two words derived from Greek, on the one hand 'Makros' meaning large, and 'ramphos' meaning beak. This species inhabits the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, both eastern where it is present from Norway to Mauritania passing in between the Canary Islands, while in the western Atlantic Ocean it is present from the eastern United States to the West Indies. It is also present in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean. The bathymetric range of this species is relatively deep, being able to find specimens up to 500 meters deep, although between 50 and 150 meters is the depth at which they are most frequently found.

The body of Macroramphosus scolopax is elongated and laterally compressed, being the usual length of the specimens that we can observe 14 cm, although there are records of specimens up to 20 cm. As previously mentioned, the head is very elongated (up to 6 cm) and contains large lateral eyes that allow them to see in the very poor lighting conditions in which they usually live. The tubular snout is elongated, at the front end of which we find a small terminal mouth that is not equipped with teeth inside. It has two dorsal fins, both located on the posterior third of its body. The first dorsal fin is formed by a total of 5 spines, of which the second is much longer than the rest and has a serrated rear edge. The rest of the spines of the first dorsal fin are smooth and much shorter than the second spine. The second dorsal fin is formed by a short spine followed by 11-12 soft rays. The anal fin has 18-19 short soft rays. The ventral fins are very poorly developed in specimens of Macroramphosus scolopax, with 1 spine and 5 soft rays. The pectoral fins are rounded and have 16-17 rays. Finally, the caudal fin is truncated and slightly concave.

As for the color of Macroramphosus scolopax, the predominant color is red on the dorsal part, with a more pinkish tone on the sides and ventral part of the body.

Macroramphosus scolopax form schools, and are usually found near the bottom in the waters where they live. There, they feed mainly on crustaceans and zooplankton, as well as various benthic invertebrates.

The reproduction of this species occurs between the months of January and February.


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