Hairy Pipefish, Urocampus carinirostris Castelnau 1872


A Hairy Pipefish, Urocampus carinirostris, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales, January 2017. Source: Tom Davis / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:

A small, sedentary pipefish covered in hairy appendages which provide camouflage amongst eelgrass and seagrasses. Hairy Pipefish use their prehensile tails to cling to vegetation on the substrate.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Urocampus carinirostris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Sep 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4041

Hairy Pipefish, Urocampus carinirostris Castelnau 1872

More Info


Distribution

Flynn Reef, Queensland, to the lower Swan River, Perth, Western Australia, including northern Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in Papua New Guinea. The species is uncommon in South Australia.

Inhabits the lower reaches of rivers, sheltered estuaries and shallow reefs in seagrass and algal beds a 0-6 m.

Hairy Pipefish are one of the most common estuarine pipefishes in south-eastern Australia, occurring year-round in seagrass beds in Western Port (Victoria), and abundant in seagrass beds in Moreton Bay (Queensland). In Western Port, Hairy Pipefish are most abundant between January and June, when young recruit to the population. 

Features

Dorsal fin 13–15; Pectoral fin 7–10; Anal fin 2; Caudal fin 10; trunk rings 7–10; tail rings 49–59; subdorsal rings 0.0 + 2.5–4.0 = 2.5–4.0.

Head and body: Body very elongate, trunk shallow; head aligned with body; snout short, length 27–36% HL; snout depth 55–77% snout length; median dorsal snout ridge more or less straight in adult females, not elevated to or above dorsal rim of eye, ridge convex and usually elevated to or above horizontal through dorsal rim of eye in adult males; longitudinal ridge crossing half or more of opercle in subadults and adults; superior trunk and tail ridges continuous; inferior trunk and tail ridges discontinuous near anal ring; lateral trunk ridge not continuous with tail ridges; tail not prehensile, very slender and flexible; branched dermal flaps usually abundant on body and head.

Size

To 11.5 cm SL.

Colour

Cryptically colored to resemble seagrass and eelgrass leaves. Overall pale green to brown; dorsal and lateral surfaces plain or mottled, dorsal sometimes with narrow pale bars about 1–2 rings wide, often with a dark brown longitudinal stripe on underside of head and body.

Feeding

This cryptic ambush predator feeds on tiny crustaceans such as calanoid, cyclopoid and harpacticoid copepods. Individuals wrap their prehensile tail around a blade of seagrass, orienting themselves vertically when feeding.

Biology

Reproduction: Reproductive mode – ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young); eggs are brooded by males in a well-defined pouch on the underside of tail just behind anal fin. The pouch has fleshy bilateral pouch folds that meet on the ventral midline and partially or fully enclose the eggs. Males may be brooding at 48 mmSL, and brooding males have been collected from September to May.

Eggs: The smallest examined brooding male (48.8 cm standard length) contained only two eggs, a 5.7 cm fish had two rows of 19 eggs and there were four rows of 17 eggs in a 7.6 cm male. Males on average carry about 50 eggs per brood.

Larvae: Pelagic larval stage; newly emerged larvae (10–14 mm) are very elongate and slender, with a small head, an elongate, tubular snout and a small flap-like mouth; pelvic fins absent, anal fin not developed; body ridges not apparent at birth; spines weakly developed dorsally; lightly pigmented.

Hairy Pipefish mature within one year in Western Port (Victoria) and the population may be annual, as adult seem to disappear after the breeding season. Most abundant between January and June, when young are recruiting to the population.

Conservation

Australian Commonwealth legislation: Marine listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

State Legislation: Listed as protected under the New South Wales, Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian Fisheries Management Acts.

Remarks

Hairy Pipefish are variable across their distribution range and different populations may represent different species. Numbers of body rings vary both sexually and geographically; adult females usually have one more trunk ring than adult males (modally 9 versus 8); numbers of tail rings are highest (63–68) in Vic and Tas and lowest (58–62) in Qld and WA.

Etymology

The specific name carinirostris is from the Latin carina (keel) and rostrum (snout, beak, bill) in reference to the ridge on the snout.

Species Citation

Urocampus carinirostris Castelnau 1872, Proc. Zool. Acclim. Soc. Vic. 1: 200, Melbourne markets & Yarra River, Victoria.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2019

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Hairy Pipefish, Urocampus carinirostris Castelnau 1872

References


Austin, D. & Pollom, R. 2016. Urocampus carinirostris (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65375397A115432400. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T65375397A67624798.en. Downloaded on 04 September 2019.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl.

Chenoweth, S.F., Hughes, J.M. & Connolly, R.C. 2002. Phylogeography of the pipefish, Urocampus carinirostris, suggests secondary intergradation of ancient lineages. Marine Biology 141(3): 541-547.

Dawson, C.E. 1980. The Indo-Pacific pipefish genus Urocampus (Syngnathidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 93(3): 830-844 figs 1-4 

Dawson, C.E. 1985. Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas). Ocean Springs (Mississippi) : Gulf Coast Research Laboratory 230 pp. 293 figs pl. 1. 

Dawson, C.E. 1994. Family Syngnathidae. pp. 440-475 figs 391-426 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Duncker, G. 1909. Pisces, 1. Teil : Syngnathidae. pp. 231-250 in Michaelsen, W. & Hartmeyer, R. (eds). Die Fauna Südwest-Australiens. Jena : G. Fischer Vol. 2. 

Edgar, G.J. & Shaw, C. 1995. The production and tropic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in Southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and tropic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western Port, Victoria. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 194: 83-106.

Gray, C.A., McElligot, D.J. & Chick, R.C. 1996. Intra- and inter-estuary differences in assemblages of fishes associated with shallow seagrass and bare sand. Marine and Freshwater Research 47(5): 723-735.

Günther, A. 1873. Erster ichthyologischer Beitrag nach Exemplaren aus dem Museum Godeffroy. Journal des Museum Godeffroy, Hamburg 1(2): 97-103 6 figs

Howard, R.K. & Koehn, J.D. 1985. Population dynamics and feeding ecology of pipefish (Syngnathidae) associated with eelgrass beds of Western Port, Victoria. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 361–70

Humphries, P., Hyndes, G.A. & Potter, I.C. 1992. Comparisons between the diets of distant taxa (Teleost and Cormorant) in an Australian estuary. Estuaries 15(3): 327-334.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kendrick, A.J. & Hyndes, G.A. 2005. Variations in the dietary compositions of morphologically diverse syngnathid fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 415-427.

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

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2008. Syngnathidae. pp. 448-479 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. 

Gomon, M.F. & Neira, F.J. 1998. Syngnathidae: pipefishes and seahorses. pp. 122-131 in Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp. 

Neira, F.J., Potter, I.C. & Bradley, J.S. 1992. Seasonal and spatial changes in the larval fish fauna within a large temperate Australian estuary. Marine Biology 112: 1-16 

Neira, F.J. & Potter, I.C. 1992. Movement of larval fishes through the entrance channel of a seasonally open estuary in Western Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 35: 213-224 

Neira, F.J. & Potter, I.C. 1992. The ichthyoplankton of a seasonally closed estuary in temperate Australia. Does an extended period of opening influence species composition? Journal of Fish Biology 41: 935-953 

Neira, F.J. & Potter, I.C. 1994. The larval fish assemblage of the Nornalup-Walpole estuary, a permanently open estuary on the southern coast of Western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research (45): 1193-1207 

Scott, E.O.G. 1965. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 13. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 99: 53-65 fig. 1 

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37282008

Behaviour:10 cm SL

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-6 m

Habitat:Seagrass beds

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