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Ghost Pipefishes

Compiler and date details

26 April 2017 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Douglass F. Hoese, Matthew M. Lockett & Ursula E. Smith

17 August 2016 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Douglass F. Hoese & Ursula E. Smith

26 February 2015 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Douglass F. Hoese & Ursula E. Smith

John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese


Members of the Solenostomidae, ghost pipefishes, are found in the Indo-Pacific region. A single genus, Solenostomus, with six species is recognised for the family (Kuiter 2009, Allen & Erdmann 2012).

Ghost pipefishes have a long snout, high dorsal fin with weak spines and relatively large pelvic and caudal fins. Females brood the developing eggs in a pouch formed from the united pelvic fins. Reproduction and skin brooding is discussed in Wetzel & Wourms (1995). The maximum length attained is 16.5 cm.

Senou (1994) reviewed species from Japan and the family was characterised by Fritzsche & Thiesfeld (1999). The ghost pipefishes were also reviewed by Orr & Fritzsche (1993), who recognised two species in Australian waters, both of which were figured and diagnosed by Munro (1958). Orr et al. (2002) recognised only four species, and presented a key to species as well as describing a new species from Australia. Here we provisionally follow Kuiter (2009), who recognised six species, including 5 species from Australia. Previously, Paxton et al (2006) recognised four species from Australia. Although Kuiter (1993) mentioned S. armatus, and the species was included in Paxton et al. (2006) we do not include it here as there are no verified records from Australian waters (Kuiter 2009). Interrelationships of the family are discussed in Keivany & Nelson (2006) and species are treated in Kuiter (2009) and Allen & Erdmann (2012). Further research on this group is required to more accurately determine the number of species and appropriate names for some species.


Excluded Taxa


SOLENOSTOMIDAE: Solenostomus armatus Weber, 1913 [No verified records from Australia]


General References

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Fritzsche, R.A. & Thiesfeld, K.G. 1999. Family Solenostomidae. 2263 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Keivany, Y. & J. Nelson 2006. Interrelationships of Gasterosteiformes (Actinopterygii, Percomorpha). Journal of Ichthyology 46(Suppl. 1): S84-S96

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. [82]

Kuiter, R.H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Seaford, Australia : Aquatic Photographics pp. 331.

Munro, I.S.R. 1958. Handbook of Australian fishes. No. 23. Fisheries Newsletter. Australia 17(5): (93-96) 17-20 figs 643-663

Orr, J.W., Fritzsche, R.A. & Randall, J.E. 2002. Solenostomus halimeda, a new species of ghost pipefish (Teleostei: Gasterosteiformes) from the Indo-Pacific, with a revised key to the known species of the family Solenostomidae. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 5(3): 99-108

Orr, J.W. & Fritzsche, R.A. 1993. Revision of the ghost pipefishes, family Solenostomidae (Teleostei: Syngnathoidei). Copeia 1993(1): 168-182

Paxton, J. R., Gates, J.E., Bray, D.J. & Hoese, D.F. 2006. Solenostomidae. pp. 807-809 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [807]

Senou, H. 1994. A review of the ghost pipefishes, genus Solenostomus (Teleostei: Solenostomatidae) from Japan. I.O.P. Diving News 5(6): 2-6 [in Japanese]

Wetzel, J. & Wourms, J.P. 1995. Adaptations for reproduction and development in the skin-brooding ghost pipefishes, Solenostomus. Environmental Biology of Fishes 44: 363-384


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
27-Jul-2017 SYNGNATHIFORMES 27-Jul-2017 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett
25-Jun-2015 SYNGNATHIFORMES 16-Aug-2016 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
12-Feb-2010 (import)