Saturday, September 13, 2008

Milford Point Audubon

This is a pipefish I caught with my bare hands just off the shore at the Connecticut Coastal Audubon Center in Milford. Pipefish are related to sea horses. I used to have a Long Island Sound aquarium and I'd come down to the tidal lagoon at Milford Point to hunt for creatures to put in the aquarium. It was fascinating. The animals ate each other quite a bit, and by spring my tank was pretty bare. Lady crabs, the purple ones with wicked sharp claws, stood motionless over the hermit crabs with claws cocked and ready to strike. Moon Snails enveloped clams and snails with a humungous foot, then slid under the sand to digest their food. The fish ate the shrimp. After a couple years I discovered to my horror that I had a 12-inch long red polycheate worm living in there with at least 3 billion legs. I had apparently raised him well.

Pipefish, I discovered, would stalk the little shore shrimp I had in the tank, who were carrying a clutch of eggs under their tails. Every so often the pipefish would unobtrusively slip in and steal an egg, which helped to explain how they could eat anything with those tiny mouths. This particular pipefish was swimming about my feet and few inches of water while I was speaking with a friend. I simply reached down and grabbed him.

The Milford Point Coastal Audubon Center is a great place to get away from the crowds and walk along a natural beach. Here are some more pictures.
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1 comment:

Richard said...

Have you ever smoked a pipefish?