The Spiny Pipehorse is the longest of the Australian syngnathids. It is sometimes seen washed up on beaches after storms.
The Spiny Pipehorse can be recognised by its long, thin body that is encased in hard, spiny, ring-like plates. It has a very long, slender snout and a prehensile tail. This pipehorse is yellow, pink or orange in colour with narrow yellow bars. It also has a variable pattern of dark bars or blotches and a red-brown area around the anus.
The species lives in temperate marine waters. Commonly it is trawled from water of 30 m - 230 m depth, over muddy bottoms. However, in the Derwent Estuary, Tasmania, it is sometimes found in water as shallow as 2 m - 3 m.
The Spiny Pipehorse is known to occur from Southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand. It is sometimes seen washed up on beaches after storms.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Just like the Weedy Seadragon, males of this species are sometimes seen carrying eggs attached to the under surface of the tail.
- Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
- Dawson, C.E. in Gomon, M.F, Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.