Western Crested Pipefish, Mitotichthys meraculus (Whitley 1948)

A Western Crested Pipefish, Mitotichthys meraculus, in the Perth area, Western Australia, April 2018. Source: Glen Whisson / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial


This endemic pipefish is only known from a few specimens collected in shallow waters of south Western Australia.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2018, Mitotichthys meraculus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3118

Western Crested Pipefish, Mitotichthys meraculus (Whitley 1948)

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Endemic to temperate waters of southwestern Australia; only known from two specimens collected at Flinders Bay, Augusta and Perth, Western Australia; reportedly inhabits sheltered seagrass beds (Posidonia coriaceaI) in 2m.


Dorsal fin 25; Anal fin 3; Pectoral fin 13; trunk rings 20; tail rings 34-35; subdorsal rings 4.0-3.75 + 3.25-3.5 = 7.0-7.5.

Body elongated, trunk moderately shallow, somewhat deeper in adult females than adult males, upper profile slightly convex near dorsal-fin base; head aligned with body; head length 7.9 in SL; snout long, 1.9 in HL; snout depth 4.8 in snout length; median dorsal snout ridge low, entire; opercle without distinct longitudinal ridge in subadults and adults; superior trunk and tail ridges discontinuous; lateral trunk ridge straight, ends near anal ring; inferior trunk and tail ridges continuous; principle body ridges entire, low on trunk, a little elevated on distal half or more of tail; scutella not keeled; without dermal flaps; tail not prehensile.

Dorsal fin origin on trunk, closer to tip of snout than to tip of tail, base of moderate length; pectoral fin base without distinct ridges; anal fin tiny, below front half of dorsal fin; caudal fin very small.


Grows to a maximum length of more than 222 mm SL.


Brownish with small, dark margined pale spots on scutella of each trunk ring and each ring has a median vertical series of two additional ocelli above the lateral ridge and one below.


Unknown – likely to feed on small crustaceans.


Nothing is known about the biology of this species.


Of no interest to fisheries or aquaculture.


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


This species is only known from two females caught in south Western Australia, and Rudie Kuiter has suggested that these records may represent range extensions of Histiogamphelus briggsii.

Similar Species

Mitotichthys meraculus differs from M. tuckeri and M. semistriatus in having a more laterally compressed snout with the median dorsal snout ridge extending past the middle of the interorbital and in having the pectoral fin base protruding slightly laterally.


Mitotichthys is from the Greek mitis -e (soft), ous, otis (ear) and ichthys (fish).

Species Citation

Histiogamphelus meraculus Whitley 1948, Aust. Zool. 11(3): 271, City Beach, Perth, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Western Crested Pipefish, Mitotichthys meraculus (Whitley 1948)


Dawson, C.E. 1984. Synopsis of Australian pipefishes usually referred to the syngnathine (tail-pouch) genera Syngnathus, Leptonotus and Histiogamphelus. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 45: 71-123

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. 

Kendrick, A.J. & G.A. Hyndes. 2003. Patterns in the abundance and size distribution of syngnathid fishes among habitats in a seagrass-dominated marine environment. Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science 57: 631-640.

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

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

Whitley, G.P. 1948. New sharks and fishes from Western Australia. Part 4. Aust. Zool. 11(3): 259-276. See ref at BHL

Whitley, G.P. 1955. Opus CCC. The Australian Zoologist 12(2): 154-159 figs 1-7 See ref at BHL

Zhang, X. & Pollom, R. 2016. Mitotichthys meraculus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65371373A115429077. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T65371373A67624753.en. Downloaded on 25 September 2018.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282092

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Seagrass beds

Max Size:23 cm SL


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