Animal Species:Spiny Pipehorse, Solegnathus spinosissimus Günther, 1870

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

Standard Common Name

Spiny Pipehorse

Alternative Name/s

A ustralian Spiny Pipehorse, Banded Pipefish, Spiny Seadragon


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.

Size range

The Spiny Pipehorse is the longest of the Australian syngnathids. It grows to 49 cm in length.


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.

Solegnathus spinosissimus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Spiny Pipehorse specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


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.

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.



What does this mean?


  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.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Spiny Pipehorse, Solegnathus spinosissimus, Syngnathidae, yellow, pink, orange, long and skinny, 30 cm - 1 m, coloured bars, blotches, marine, adult, long snout,