Banded pipefish near Moalboal, Philippines
© Jenna Szerlag/Alam
Swimming into the season
This swimming candy cane is a banded pipefish, found far from the North Pole, in the tropical seas of the Indo-Pacific region, from Australia and Japan to the Philippines and South Africa. It’s in the same family as the seahorse, and like its cousin, the pipefish has plates of bony armour covering its body. This gives it protection, but also a rigid body (not unlike a candy cane), so to swim it needs to fan its fins very quickly. Also like the seahorse, it's the male pipefish, not the female, who carries the eggs. After an elaborate courtship dance, the female deposits her eggs in the male's brood pouch, where they develop until the male gives birth.