All washed up!

Stigmatopora harastii or the Red Wide-bodied Pipefish was only recently described in 2020 from a handful of specimens and observations from Botany Bay, south to Shellharbour and Jervis Bay, New South Wales.
Early this year @lynn430 posted an observation of a Red Wide-bodied pipefish washed up at Bawley Point, NSW (left photo, above), during the extreme weather conditions the east coast of Australia has been facing this year. Excitingly this makes @lynn430’s observation the southern-most record of this amazing fish!
One of the earliest observations of the Red Wide-bodied Pipefish was in 2002 in Jervis Bay, where David Harasti, @daveharasti, (whom the fish was named after), along with other scuba divers, reported a red pipefish associated with pale red finger sponges at 18 metres depth. It was subsequently reported occurring at Bass Point, Shellharbour, NSW in red algae at 18 metres depth in 2017. Since then, they have also been found at Minmi Trench in Botany Bay NSW and more recently at The Steps at Kurnell NSW where species co-author Andrew Trevor-Jones (@andrewtrevor-jones, view Member Profile) spent 3 months searching his regular dive sites to determine if the red pipefish also occurred there. With the aid of a dive torch at 18m, Andrew was able to confirm the presence of the species swaying with the algae (right photo, above)
The Red Wide-bodied Pipefish has been observed in semi-exposed bay entrances and ocean embayments in sandy areas, interspersed amongst rocky reefs at depths of 12-25 metres. The habitat around Bawley Point fits this description perfectly, so it is not surprising that this fish was washed up in that area. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to find additional observations of this flamboyant fish at other locations in Australia with similar habitat.
This uniquely red coloured pipefish associates with finger sponges and red algae in strong surge zones between 12-25m. The Red Wide-bodied Pipefish is the fourth member of the genus Stigmatopora to be described from southern Australia (S. nigra, S. argus, S. narinosa and S. harsastii). Like all members of Stigmatopora, the new species has a long snout and thread-like prehensile tail; however, it exhibits red body colouration versus green or brown colouration seen in other species of the genus.
Thank you @lynn430 for uploading this fabulous observation. We look forward to seeing where this fish may be found in the future.
View more photos of this wonderful species.
This journal post was written by Australasian Fishes member, Kerryn Parkinson, @redfishblue.
Lähettänyt markmcg markmcg, 22. elokuuta 2022 06:52

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