Spiny Pipehorse, Solegnathus spinosissimus Click to enlarge image
A Spiny Pipehorse found washed up on Palm Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, February 2001. Image: Guy Finlay
© Guy Finlay

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    spinosissimus
    Genus
    Solegnathus
    Family
    Syngnathidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Spiny Pipehorse is the longest of the Australian syngnathids. It grows to 49 cm in length.

Introduction

The Spiny Pipehorse is the longest of the Australian syngnathids. It is sometimes seen washed up on beaches after storms.



Identification

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.

Habitat

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.

Distribution

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.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.