Early life history of Syngnathus abaster
The embryonic and larval development of the pipefish Syngnathus abaster is described, based on ex situ observations. The full development sequence lasted 24–32 days (at 18–19° C), which was shortened to 21 days at higher temperatures (21–22° C). Newborn juveniles, with a uniform dark brown colouration, immediately assumed a benthic spatial distribution. This vertical distribution pattern remained unchanged at least during the first 4 weeks, after the release from the marsupium. The apparent absence of a pelagic life phase might have important repercussions in terms of population connectivity given increasing fragmentation and degradation of the eelgrass habitat in the species’ range.
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