Spotted Pipefish, Stigmatopora argus Click to enlarge image
A Spotted Pipefish seined by K. Parkinson and C. Arnold at a depth of 1m, Botany Bay, New South Wales, October 2001. Image: Kerry Parkinson
© Spotted Pipefish

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    argus
    Genus
    Stigmatopora
    Family
    Syngnathidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species can grow to 27 cm in length.

Introduction

The Spotted Pipefishis usually green with obvious black spots on the dorsal surface of the body. The species is usually found in seagrass beds and weedy areas on rocky reefs, and

Identification

The Spotted Pipefish is classified in the family Syngnathidae and is related to the seahorses and seadragons. The fish is usually green with obvious black spots on the dorsal surface of the body.

Habitat

The species is usually found in seagrass beds and weedy areas on rocky reefs.

Distribution

The Spotted Pipefish is known from Australia and New Zealand. In Australia it occurs in marine waters from southern Queensland to Tasmania and in south-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.



Feeding and diet

They feed on small crustaceans, mostly copepods and mysids.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Spotted Pipefish use the prehensile tail to hold onto seagrass or algae.

Breeding behaviours

Males and females are easy to tell apart when they are breeding. During breeding males have a pouch on the belly where they carry their young. They give birth to young pipefish that resemble the adults. Females generally have a wider body than males, with a fine orange band on the upper side. This band is more prominent when the pipefish is breeding. They are thought to live for about one year.

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. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.