Nerophis ophidion (Linnaeus, 1758)

Nerophis ophidion image

Synonyms: Syngnathus ophidion Linnaeus, 1758; Scyphius littoralis Risso, 1826; Scyphius teres Rathke, 1837; Nerophys ophidion Slastenenko, 1956; Nerophis ophidion Banarascu, 1964.

Common names: Engl: Straight-nosed pipefish; Rom: Ata de mare; Russ: Morskoye shilo, Igla zmeyevidnaya; Turk: Deniz ignesi.

Order (Scientific): SYNGNATHIFORMES.

Family (Scientific): SYNGNATHIDAE.

Taxonomic descriptions: Body cylindrical in section, anterior part flattened, threaded-like posterior part; no edges; dorsal fin two times longer than the head; tubular snout with superior mouth; body greyish-yellow or greenish-brown; small dots on dorsal fin; during the spawning period, individuals have the body covered by blue stripes and spots. Size: maximum - 25 cm.

Nerophis ophidion arealIUCN Status:
    World level:
    Black Sea Regional level:
    Subregion level: EN


Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: Inhabits the marine coastal zones among filaments of algae, confusing with them, and also in brackish waters; juveniles have a pelagic life. Common in the western Atlantic coasts, from Norway to North Africa; Mediterranean and Azov Seas. In Romania they have also occurred in Sinoe lagoon. Coastal shallow waters, limans and lagoons pollution.

Biology: Feeds on crustaceans and vegetal debris; females spawn on the male abdomen during June-July.

Population trends: Rather frequent in the past in algal fields and Zostera field; rare in the last two decades; occurs in catches with stake nets.

Threats: Pollution of littoral waters; hypoxia; impoverishment of algal communities and Zostera fields, its favourite biotop.

Conservation measures taken: None.

Conservation measures proposed: Reduce eutrophication and pollution by improving the quality of riverine input and reducing pollution from point and non-point sources.


  1. Banarescu, P., 1964 - Fauna of RPR. Pisces - Osteichthyes. Ed.Acad.RPR.
  2. Müller, G.I., V.H.Skolka, N.Bodeanu, 1969 - Preliminary data regarding the algal and animal algae associated with Cystoseira barbata fields from the Romanian Black Sea littoral. Hydrobiology, 10: 270-289.
  3. Stojanov, S. and al., 1963. Fishes in the Black Sea. Varna, 246 pp.
  4. Rass, T.S., 1987. Present state of Black Sea ichthyofauna composition and its changes. Voprosy ikhtiologii, 27, (2), p.179-187, (in Russian).

Compiled by: G.Radu, F.Verioti, K.Prodanov, Y.Sivkov.