Syngnathus typhle is a species belonging to the order Syngnathiformes, family Syngnathidae, and genus Syngnathys, which inhabits the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to Morocco, including the Baltic Sea, the British Isles, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It lives in areas with a high density of algae. In the Mediterranean it is often associated with Posidonia ocanica meadows, where it will remain in an upright position to pass itself off as a leaf of this algae. In terms of depth, this curious species can be found at depths of up to 20 meters.
The body of Syngnathus typhle is very elongated in the shape of a needle, and can reach a maximum total length of 35 cm. It has a tubular snout of similar diameter to the rest of the body, with a terminal mouth oriented perpendicularly upwards and whose length is practically the entire height of the body of the specimen. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The body is greenish or brownish in color, with numerous irregular whitish spots along the body. The appearance of this species, thanks to its livery and especially along its body, makes it look like withered leaves of the Posidonia ocanica algae, and therefore when found in these same algae, it will go completely unnoticed unless we pay close attention.
The diet of Syngnathus typhle consists mainly of small crabs and different species of other crustaceans, which it captures with a movement of its jaws that generates a suction that subtly introduces the prey inside the mouth of the specimen.
The reproduction of this species involves a dance between the male and the female that culminates with the female transferring the fertilized eggs to a pouch in the male's abdomen. The male will incubate them for approximately 3 weeks, after which the juveniles will hatch.
Syngnathus typhle can be confused with another very close species, Syngnathus acus. The clearest feature that will allow us to differentiate the two species is the length of the mouth. As previously mentioned, in Syngnathus typhle the mouth is of a length equivalent to the height of the body of the specimen, a feature that does not occur in the case of Syngnathus acus specimens.Photos: