Animal Species:Upside-down Pipefish, Heraldia nocturna Paxton, 1975

The Upside-down Pipefish can be recognised by its very large caudal fin with incised membrane, and raised body ridges along the body. There are two distinct forms. The east coast form (see images) is recorded from northern to southern New South Wales. It is dark brown to black with or without pale blotches. The south coast form is a mottled yellow-brown with light markings and a smaller caudal fin.

An Upside-down Pipefish at Fly Point Marine Reserve

David and Leanne Atkinson © David and Leanne Atkinson

Standard Common Name

Upside-down Pipefish

Identification

The Upside-down Pipefish can be recognised by its very large caudal fin with incised membrane, and raised body ridges along the body.

There are two distinct forms. The east coast form (see images) is recorded from northern to southern New South Wales. It is dark brown to black with or without pale blotches. The south coast form is a mottled yellow-brown with light markings and a smaller caudal fin.

Heraldia nocturna was described by Australian Museum Research Fellow, Dr J. Paxton in 1975. The holotype is registered in the Australian Museum Fish Collection (AMS I.17328-001).

Size range

The Upside-down Pipefish grows to 10 cm in length.

Distribution

It occurs from the central coast of Victoria to southern Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Heraldia nocturna

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Upside-down Pipefish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It lives in protected bays and estuaries down to a depth of about 20 m, where it is usually seen in pairs in caves and under ledges. It is often seen swimming upside-down, hence the common name.

Classification

Species:
nocturna
Genus:
Heraldia
Family:
Syngnathidae
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
  • Paxton, J.R. 1975. Heraldia nocturna, a new genus and species of pipefish (family Syngnathidae) from eastern Australia with comments on Maroubra perserrata Whitley. Proceedings of the California Academy of Science, 40 (15):439-447.


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Tags black, brown, green, red, long and skinny, 10cm, bays and estuaries, marine, adult, upside-down,