PORT PHILLIP BAY


Brushtail Pipefish 

Leptoichthys fistularius Kaup, 1853

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 33-41
Anal fin spines/rays: 5
Caudal fin rays: 11
Pectoral fin rays: 20-23
Body rings: 22-28 + 18-24
Subdorsal rings: 3.50-2.00 + 5.00-6.75 = 7.75-9.25

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
Mostly long, slender fishes with a small mouth at the end of a long tubular snout, although some species are deep-bodied. All are partially or completely encased in bony rings or dermal plates. Most are cryptically-coloured and often have dermal appendages providing further camouflage.

Family level detail.
A large and diverse group of pipefishes, seahorses, seadragons and pipehorses. All have semi-flexible bodies encased in bony rings and a tiny mouth at the end of a tubular snout. They lack fin spines and pelvic fins, and other the fins may be reduced or absent. Syngnathids have a unique reproductive mode. The sexes are separate and females deposit their eggs into special abdominal brood pouches or onto modified exposed regions under the trunk or tail of their male partner. The males incubate and nourish the developing embryos until they hatch. These extraordinary cryptic fishes are extremely well-camouflaged and often ornamentation such as filaments and other appendages on their bodies to closely resemble their surroundings.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Syngnathiformes
Suborder:
Syngnathoidei
Family:
Syngnathidae
Genus:
Leptoichthys
Species:
fistularius

General Description

Body long, slender; snout very long, mouth distinctly angled; tail fin very long, pointed; adult females with median fleshy fin-fold under tail. Well-camouflaged, mainly bright green to greenish brown, head and back darker, with orange brown wavy lines; tail fin brownish to almost black; large individuals often with bright blue snouts. To 65 cm.

Biology

This pipefish usually lives amongst the seagrass Zostera, although it is also found in Posidonia beds.

Habitat

Shallow inshore seagrass beds, in depths of 0-20 m.

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Seahorses, pipefish and allies

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

65 cm

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed
  • Fisheries Act 1995 : Protected Aquatic Biota

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Brushtail Pipefish, Leptoichthys fistularius, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6308

Text: creative commons cc by licence