Ornate Ghostpipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus Click to enlarge image
An Ornate Ghostpipefish at a depth of 12 m, Lion Island, off Bootless Bay, Papua New Guinea, August 2004. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    paradoxus
    Genus
    Solenostomus
    Family
    Solenostomidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 10 cm in length.

Introduction

The Ornate Ghostpipefish is an unually shaped species that occurs in tropical and warm termperate waters of the Indo-west Pacific.



Identification

The Ornate Ghostpipefish can be recognised by its distinctive body form with slender appendages on the body and fins. It has deeply incised membranes in the dorsal, caudal and ventral fins.

Its colour varies from almost totally black to semi-transparent with red, yellow, and white scribbling, spots and blotches.


Ornate Ghostpipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus
An Ornate Ghostpipefish at a depth of 26 m, 'Susan's Reef', Kimbe Bay, New Britain, Papua New Guinea, October 2008. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Habitat

The species is found in protected coastal waters, especially near coral and rocky dropoffs. It is a common species that is easily overlooked because of its cryptic body form and colouration.

Distribution

It has a widespread distribution in tropical waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. The Ornate Ghostpipefish is usually solitary, but has also been observed in pairs or small groups.

In Australia this species has been recorded from Point Quobba, Western Australia, around the tropical north, and south to Shellharbour on the New South Wales coast. It is usually observed at depths between 3 m and 25 m.

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



References

  1. Allen, G.R & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.