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Related Articles: Seahorse Care GuideFresh to Brackish Water PipefishesSolenostomidae (Ghost Pipefishes)

/The Conscientious Aquarist

Indonesian Tube-mouthed Fishes: Pipefishes, Seahorses; Family Syngnathidae, and Ghost Pipefish, Family Solenostomidae


Hippocampus kuda NSUL

Tube-Snout Fishes, Gasterosteiforms

Pipefishes & Seahorses, Family Syngnathidae: Some splitting-type classifiers break the family Syngnathidae itself into two or more sub-units; for Nelson, the subfamilies Syngnathinae (Pipefishes) and Hippocampinae (Seahorses and Seadragons, see below). Whichever way you splice them they are unmistakable; elongate bodies encased in hard bony ring series, small gill openings, a lack of pelvic fins and caudals, anals, dorsals and/or pectorals in some. The seahorses utilize their modified lower-body "tails" for "hitching up" as it were; and some pipes are so modified the virtually crawl along the bottom rather than swim.

Syngnathids are celebratedly "libbers" with the males rearing their eggs in a ventral brood area or pouch.

This diverse assemblage of two subfamilies includes 52 genera and about 215 described species.

Horsing Around in Indo. There are eight species... and counting, of Seahorses find here

Hippocampus bargibanti Whitney 1970, the Pygmy Seahorse. Indo-West Pacific; Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia. To 2 cm. in length. Only found on Muricella sp. Gorgonians that they match perfectly (only discovered after being found on collected sea fans!). N. Sulawesi photo of specimen about 1/4" tall, and S. Sulawesi of a gold variant of this species. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Country/

Hippocampus colemani Kuiter 2003, Coleman's Pygmy Seahorse. SW Pacific. (provisional assignment... aka "Pontohi's" Seahorse in Sulawesi.). May be a different species altogether. S. Sulawesi pic.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/

Hippocampus denise Lourie & Randall 2003. Denise's Seahorse. To about an inch in length (stretched out). Western Pacific; Malaysia, N. Sulawesi, Micronesia. Found in association with seafans; Annella reticulata, Muricella sp., Echinogorgia sp.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Country/

Hippocampus histrix Kaup 1856, the Thorny or Spiny Seahorse. Indo-Pacific; East Africa to Hawai'i in shallow, sandy habitats, usually associated with macro-algae. To 17 cm. in length. N. Sulawesi photo. Common species in the pet-fish and traditional Chinese medicine interests. N. Sulawesi pix. 

Hippocampus kuda Bleeker 1852, the Common or Spotted Seahorse. Indo-Pacific; Pakistan, India, to Hawai'i, Society Islands. To a foot in length (stretched out). Found in calm waters amongst algae, seagrass. N. Sulawesi images at right,

Hippocampus pontohi, the Pontohi's Seahorse. N. Sulawesi images.

"I'll Take The Pipes" Pipefishes: Subfamily Syngnathinae. Fifty one genera, about 190 species.

Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall 1975, the Brownbanded Pipefish. Indo-Pacific. To four inches in length.  Specimens in N. Sulawesi. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/

Corythoichthys schultzi Herald 1953, Schultz's Pipefish. Indo-West Pacific; East Africa to Japan, Australia. To 16 cm. in length. Indistinctly banded but variable in color, markings. N. Sulawesi images. 

Corythoichthys waitei (Ramsay 1881), Scribbled Pipefish. Western Central Pacific; Samoa, Micronesia, Noumea, Malaysia. Here in N. Sulawesi (Lembeh Strait). To about six inches in length. Found on rubble zones and seaward reefs. 


Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus (Bleeker 1853), Ringed Pipefish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, east Africa to Samoa. To 7 3/4" in length. A common offering in the pet-fish interest. Do buy tank bred specimens. Wild ones fare poorly. N. Sulawesi images. 

Halicampus macrorhynchus Bamber 1915, the Ornate Pipefish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to the Solomons, Indonesia. To 18 cm. in length. N. Sulawesi photos. 

Siokunichthys nigrolineatus Dawson 1983, the Mushroom-coral Pipefish. Indonesia, Philippines. To 80 mm in length, but very thin. Found in close association (within tentacles) of Heliofungia corals. N. Sulawesi photos. 

Bigger PIX:  Trachyrhamphus longirostris Sipadan 08. The double ended/headed pipefish. Uses its tail to wedge into sand to keep put during high currents... Likely related to caudal fin loss. The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Trumpetfish, Family Aulostomidae: One Pacific species

Aulostomus chinensis (Linnaeus 1766), the Chinese Trumpetfish. Indo-pan-Pacific; eastern Africa to Panama. To thirty two inches in length. Brown, green, mottled... to yellow.

Flutemouths, Family Fistulariidae:

Fistularia commersonii Ruppell 1838, the Smooth Flutemouth. To 160 cm. From the entire tropical Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, Africa to Mexico. Shown: small (one foot long) individual in shallow water at night in Fiji.


Shrimpfishes, Family Centriscidae:

Aeoliscus strigatus (Gunther 1860), the Coral Shrimpfish. Indo-Pacific. To 14 cm. in height/length, longest dimension. N. Sulawesi images.

Centriscus scutatus Linnaeus 1758, the Rigid Shrimpfish. Indo-Pacific. To six inches in height. N. Sulawesi picture.

Seamoths, Family Pegasidae:

Eurypegasus draconis (Linnaeus 1766), the Little Dragonfish. Indo-Pacific. To 8 cm. N. Sulawesi pix.

Ghost Pipefishes, Family Solenostomidae: According to Nelson (1994) the syngnathids form a larger group, the Superfamily Syngnathoidea with the another family sometimes labeled as seahorses as well as Ghost Pipefishes, the otherworldly family Solenostomidae (whose five species have the females brooding their young in pouches).

Solenostomus armatus (Weber 1913), the Halimeda or Armored Pipefish. West Pacific; Arufura Sea, Indonesia to Kyushu, Japan. To 5.7 cm. in length. Looking like algae, this species hangs around in such, camouflaging itself from predators. N. Sulawesi images.

Solenostomus cyanopterus Bleeker 1854, the Robust or Longfin Ghost Pipefish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, East Africa to Fiji, Australia. To six inches in length. Color variable. Most are brown, but may be black, green, matching seaweed, seagrass for camouflage. N. Sulawesi pix.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Country/

Solenostomus paradoxus (Pallas 1770), the Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Indo-West Pacific; Red Sea, East Africa to Marshalls, Australia. To five inches in length. A beauty, if found, generally amongst crinoids, gorgonians, sponges of similar color, markings. Below, N. Sulawesi images, last from Mabul, Malaysia.


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