Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri Kuiter 2004


Other Names: Algal Pygmy Pipehorse, Dwarf Pipehorse, Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse

Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri - Sydney, New South Wales. Source: Thierry Rakotoarivelo / Reef Life Survey. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

This tiny pipehorse is so small and well-camouflaged that it is rarely seen by divers. It lives on rocky reefs covered in red algae and bryozoans, using its prehensile tail to cling to vegetation and other structures.

The skin of Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse is often covered in algae that provides very effective camouflage within its habitat.

Video of a pair of Sydney's Pygmy Pipehorse mating.

Video of Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1738

Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri Kuiter 2004

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to eastern Australia, from Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly, to Ulladulla Harbour, New South Wales.

Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse inhabits semi-exposed rocky reefs covered in clumps of red algae or bryozoa at depths of 6-30 m. Individuals appear to be site-attached, remaining on the same small reef areas for much of the year.

Features

Meristic features: Dorsal fin 15–16; Pectoral fin 13.Trunk rings 11; tail rings 43–44.

Head large, length 86–91% of trunk length and angled ventrally approximately 25° from longitudinal axis of body; snout short, length 2.2–2.6 in head length; snout depth 46% (45–47%) of its length; top of head with prominent, tall, frontal ridge originating well behind eye, with thick, long, branched, fleshy dermal appendage, reaching forward to above tip of snout; trunk length 18–20% TL; numerous simple to fern-like branched, fleshy dermal appendages on head and body, well-developed above eye, under snout and at various intersections of rings and superior ridges on trunk and tail; trunk very deep, its greatest depth 73% of its length; superior trunk-ridge ending below dorsal-fin base, above origin of superior tail-ridge; tail prehensile.

Dorsal-fin base arched upwards at centre.

Size

To 5.5 cm TL

Colour

Overall whitish to reddish or dark grey, with brown to reddish blotches or irregular banding; sometimes uniformly burgundy-red. Fleshy appendages are mostly red with grey 'branches' or tips.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds on tiny crustaceans.

Biology

Males brood the eggs in a large brood pouch on the underside of the trunk. Males have an estimated 60 eggs in the pouch per brood.

Fisheries

Of no interest to fisheries or aquaculture.

Conservation

IUCN Red List: Least Concern

EPBC Act 1999: Marine listed

NSW: Listed as protected under the New South Wales Fisheries Management Act.

Remarks

The skin of I. lumnitzeri is specialised to encourage the growth of the algae it lives amongst, and algae often covers the rings and plates of the body. The algal covering provides very effective camouflage within its habitat. Some individuals monitored over an eight-year period, were observed to live on the same small sections of reef for long periods, up to about 8 months. Individuals occur singly, in pairs or in small groups at night.

Similar Species

I. lumnitzeri can be distinguished from  Idiotropiscis australe and Idiotropiscis larsonae, in having a shorter and more posteriorly positioned frontal ridge dorsally on the head, a very short trunk, and in having a longer snout (2.2–2.6 in head length, versus 2.8–3.2 in I. australe and 3.7–3.8 in I. larsonae). 

Etymology

Named for Ákos Lumnitzer who collected the type specimens that were described by Rudie Kuiter.

Species Citation

Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri Kuiter 2004, Rec. Aust. Mus. 56: .164, figs 1-2. Type locality: Henrietta Head, La Perouse, Sydney, NSW, 22m [34°00'S, 151°15'E].

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Sydney’s Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri Kuiter 2004

References


Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 240 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2004. A New Pygmy Pipehorse (Pisces: Syngnathidae: Idiotropiscis) from Eastern Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 56: 163-165

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

Paxton, J.R., Gates, J.E., Hoese, D.F. & Bray, D.J. 2006. Syngnathidae. pp. 810-846 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Pognoski, J.J., Pollard, D.A. & Paxton, J.R. 2002. Conservation Overview and Action Plan for Australian Threatened and Potentially Threatened Marine and Estuarine Fishes. Canberra : Environment Australia 375 pp.

Rachinski, T. & Pollom, R. 2016. Acentronura lumnitzeri (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65369051A115424796. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T65369051A67618758.en. Downloaded on 18 October 2018.

Teske, P. & Beheregaray, L. 2009. The Rise of Seahorses. Australasian Science (Nov-Dec): 24-25

Teske, P.R. & Beheregaray, L.B. 2009. Evolution of seahorses' upright posture was linked to Oligocene expansion of seagrass habitats. Biology Letters 5: 521-523

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37282127

Biology:Males brood eggs in pouch

Conservation:EPBC Act Marine Listed; NSW Protected

Danger:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:6-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:5.5 cm TL

Native:Endemic

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map