Happiness is… your very own pipefish

Story originally posted by UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Amanda Vincent has a newly discovered pipefish species named after her! 

A new species of pipefish found in Patagonia, Argentina, in the southwest Atlantic Ocean has been named after IOF Professor Amanda Vincent. Prof Vincent has long led conservation efforts for pipefishes, seahorses and seadragons (family Syngnathidae) and is Chair of the global expert group on these fishes.

The Patagonian pipefish, Leptonotus Vincentae, is new species found in the shallow waters of the southern seas around South America and New Zealand. Photo by Diego Luzzatto.

The Journal of Fish Biology paper describing the species, Leptonotus vincentae, states that it “is named after Amanda Vincent, whose work on conservation of syngnathids [pipefishes and seahorses] has increased our chances of having healthy populations of these fishes in the threatened seas of the world.” Prof Vincent and her Project Seahorse team have received many awards for their measurable achievements in marine conservation.

Prof Vincent is delighted by this honour.

“I’m so thrilled to have my very own pipefish species, from an area of the world that I love. Huge thanks for this marvellous honour. I can’t wait to visit the pipefish in their natural habitat; we must redouble our efforts to protect the area.”

Vincent's pipefish

Photos of L. vincentae taken in the  shallow waters of Argentina’s San Antonio Bay. Phptos by Diego Luzzatto.

Leptonotus vincentae (with the common name of Patagonian pipefish) was discovered in the shallow waters of Argentina’s San Antonio Bay (40° 45′ S 64° 52′ W), a marine protected area regulated by the provincial government and categorized as V, Protected landscape–seascape by the IUCN.

The two Argentinians, Diego C. Luzzatto and María L. Estalles, who first found and described the pipefish, wrote to Prof Vincent that

“this species is dedicated to you and your legacy on the conservation of seahorses and their relatives. Your work, dedication and love for these fishes have inspired many young scientists.”

This genus of pipefishes, Leptonotus, is distinguished by the fact that males brood eggs on their tail with advanced parental care.  Males and females differ in other ways, too; when courting, for example, females develop bright stripes on their deep flattened bodies.  Leptonotus is the only genus of pipefish found in Patagonia and all four species, including L. vincentae, are only known from the southern seas around South America and New Zealand.

Research Article: Leptonotus vincentae, a new pipefish species (Syngnathidae: Syngnathinae) from the south‐west Atlantic Ocean near northern Patagonia, Journal of Fish Biology.