PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sculptured Seamoth 

Pegasus lancifer Kaup, 1861

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 5
Anal fin spines/rays: 5
Caudal fin rays: 8-9
Pectoral fin rays: 14-19
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 3

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 have bodies 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.
Small bottom-dwelling fishes with somewhat flattened bodies with wing-like pectoral fins, and pointed heads with long snouts. Their bodies are encased in thick bony plates and they 'walk' across the seafloor on their modified pelvic fins.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Syngnathiformes
Suborder:
Syngnathoidei
Family:
Pegasidae
Genus:
Pegasus
Species:
lancifer

General Description

Small bizarre-looking well-camouflaged fishes with bodies encased in bony armour. Body broad, flattened, with a long slender bony rostrum overhanging a tiny mouth, a long slender flexible tail tipped with a tiny caudal fin and large fan-like pectoral fins. Colour pattern highly variable to match surroundings, usually sandy coloured, often with darker markings along the sides. Males have pectoral fins with a small patterned patch on the rear of the fin that is used for display. To 12 cm.

Biology

Rather than swim, seamoths use their pectoral and pelvic fins to crawl over the bottom in search of food.

Habitat

Bays, estuaries and sheltered coastal areas, on sandy, silty or shelly bottoms, often near seagrass beds, in depths of 0-55 m.

Soft substrates

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Sea moths

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

12 cm

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not Listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not Listed
  • IUCN Red List : Data Deficient

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, Sculptured Seamoth, Pegasus lancifer, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Dec 2014, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/species/8005

Text: creative commons cc by licence