Alternate Title

Notes on Aquarium Brood Release and Feeding of the Opossum Pipefish, Microphis brachyurus lineatus

Document Type

Short Communication


The opossum pipefish, Microphis brachyurus lineatus, is a migratory syngnathid with a salmon-like life history (Frias-Torres 2002). Adults breed in freshwater and oligohaline habitats associated with emergent vegetation, mostly Panicum sp. and Polygonum sp.; breeding occurs during the wet season (May to November) (Gilmore and Hastings 1983). In southern Mexico, opossum pipefish associate with Ruppia maritima, and reproduction is year-round (Miranda-Marure et al. 2004). Pelagic juveniles are found in the Atlantic Ocean and are associated with Sargassum sp. (Böhlke and Chaplin 1968). Juveniles eventually recruit into oligohaline habitats. The species range is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to New Jersey, USA, although the northernmost limit of permanent breeding populations occurs in the freshwater tributaries to the Indian River Lagoon in east central Florida (Gilmore and Gilbert 1992). The opossum pipefish is one of 25 species of diadromous fish at risk of extinction in North America (Musick et al. 2000) and is a candidate species to the US Threatened and Endangered Species List (Federal Register 1999).

The opossum pipefish diet was unknown until Teixeira and Perrone (1998) analyzed the gut contents of 109 opossum pipefish from the southeastern Brazil population. They found that the most abundant prey were insect larvae, followed by juvenile fish (Gerreidae) and small crustaceans. However, the diet necessary to maintain aquarium-kept opossum pipefish had not been determined prior to the present paper.

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