PORT PHILLIP BAY


Upside-down Pipefish 

Heraldia nocturna Paxton, 1975

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 23-27
Anal fin spines/rays: 4
Caudal fin rays: 11
Pectoral fin rays: 18-22
Body rings: 16-19 + 14-16
Subdorsal rings: 5.00-3.50 + 1.50-3.00 = 5.50-5.75

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 have 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:
Heraldia
Species:
nocturna

General Description

Body long, slender; tail large, spikey; dorsal fin mostly on trunk, body behind dorsal fin much shorter than that before dorsal fin; posterior angles of body rings slightly raised and produced into spine-like points. Mostly brown or irregularly blotched with tan or white markings; anterior part of dorsal fin brown. To 10 cm.

Biology

These nocturnal pipefish usually live in pairs and swim upside-down close to the ceilings of caves, crevices and under ledges. They venture out into the open at night.

Habitat

Sheltered inshore rocky reefs in harbours, bays and inlets, in depths of 2-30 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Seahorses, pipefish and allies

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

10 cm

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

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, Upside-down Pipefish, Heraldia nocturna, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7703

Text: creative commons cc by licence