Barred Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys cinctus Dawson 1976

Other Names: Barred Short-bodied Pipefish

A Barred Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys cinctus, from Viti Levu, Fiji. Source: Rick Winterbottom. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A coral reef inhabitant, generally found in crevices on reef habitats at deeper depths than other species in the genus Choeroichthys.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Choeroichthys cinctus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Barred Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys cinctus Dawson 1976

More Info


Known from the tropical Indo-West Pacific from Indonesia to Samoa; in Australian waters, known from off Yonge Reef, Great Barrier Reef (Qld); in sheltered coral reef habitats, usually in crevices with sponges at about 10-38m.


Meristics: D 22-26; P 20-23; Trunk rings 15; Tail rings 20-22.

Head and body: Head length 3.4-3.9 in SL, snout long, length 1.7 in HL, snout depth 5.5-7.0 in snout length; median dorsal snout ridge low; trunk longer than tail, trunk and tail ridges distinctly notched between rings; odontid processes (tooth-like structures) prominent. Male brood pouch folds encompass 13 rings; scutella not keeled; males (females ?) with knoblike projections below lateral ridge on posterior margins of most trunk rings; ridges rough, finely denticulate to serrate.


To 8 cm TL


Pale whitish to yellow, body with distinct irregular dark bars encircling trunk, mostly on ring margins, tail usually with spots; opercle with dark spots; dorsal and pectoral fins with light basal scattering of chromatophores.


Likely to feed on small crustaceans, however, distinct odontid processes (tooth-like structures) on jaws may facilitate grazing.


Reproduction: Ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young). Males may be brooding at a length of 38 mm.

Eggs: eggs are brooded by the males in an enclosed pouch on the underside of the trunk; usually in a single layer of two parallel rows.

Larvae: Undescribed, but likely to be pelagic and morphologically similar to adults at birth.


None known.


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

Similar Species

Similar to several Choeroichthys species; C. cinctus differs from C. sculptus in having a keeled scutella and higher trunk ring counts (18 versus 15); differs from C. smithi in the bi-coloured dorsal fin and in having more trunk rings (18 versus 15); C. brachysoma has a shorter head length and fewer tail rings, 18-19 compared to 20-21 in C. cinctus


Choeroichthys is from the Greek choiros (pig) and ichthys (fish). The specific name cinctus is from the Latin cintum (girdle, belt) in reference to the barred colour pattern of preserved males.

Species Citation

Choeroichthys cinctus Dawson 1976, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 89(3): 48, figs. 5-6.

Type locality: about 150 m offshore, Latuhalat Island, Namalatu, Molucca Strait, Indonesia, about 3°47'S, 128°06'E, depth 11-18.3 m.


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

Barred Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys cinctus Dawson 1976


Allen, G.R. & M. Adrim. 2003. Coral reef fishes of Indonesia. Zool. Stud. 42(1): 1-72.

Dawson, C.E. 1976. Review of the Indo-Pacific Pipefish genus Choeroichthys (Pisces: Syngnathidae), with descriptions of two new species. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 89(3): 39-66

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

Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. 2178 pp.

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

Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 302 pp.

Paulus, T. 1999. Family Syngnathidae. pp 2264-2276, In Carpenter K.E. & V.H. Niem (eds.) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide For Fisheries Purposes. FAO Vol. 4.

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

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. 707 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282043

Biology:Male brood pouch

Feeding:Carnivore - invertebrates


Max Size:80

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CAAB distribution map