Honshu Pipefish
Doryhamphus japonicus


Pipefish are one of the hardest small critters to photograph or film. Not only are they small, they are also long and thin. One of the problems that we face when capturing images, whether moving or still, is ‘depth of field’. When you are shooting macro, to get the magnification you lose depth of field (DOF), which means that it’s only possible to get a small part of the critter in focus, hopefully it’s eyes, but the rest becomes blurred.

So pipefish, with their long thin bodies and almost continuous movement, are always tricky. And these Honshu Pipefish are shy on top of that! However, as always, with some patience it is possible to eventually get some good images. Apart from good patience, the other important factor is a well behaving subject. Critters, like us, have personalities and some are less inclined to hide than others.

Even though these Honshu didn’t stay in one place for a long time, they did at least stay in one place for longer than any I have previously found. And one of them was also a pregnant male. The males of the pipefish species, after the eggs have been fertilized, keep them on the underside of their bodies. Half way through this video you can see the eggs underneath the big male. Big male? Size-wise, the ‘big’ male is about 4 cm long

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