Mollison's Pipefish, Mitotichthys mollisoni (Scott 1955)

Other Names: Mollisons Pipefish

A female Mollison's Pipefish, Mitotichthys mollisoni. Source: Rudie Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


Mollison's Pipefish are slender with a long tubular snout and small but distinct tail fin. They are brown in colour with a dark-edged silvery-white stripe on each side of head below the eye.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa Thompson, Mitotichthys mollisoni in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024,

Mollison's Pipefish, Mitotichthys mollisoni (Scott 1955)

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Endemic to temperate waters of Victoria and Tasmania. Known in Victorian waters from Western Port and Port Phillip Bay, and from southeastern Tasmania. Mollisons pipefish live amongst brown macroalgae on rocky reef at 7-45 m.


Meristics: D 34–37; A 2; P 13–14; C 10; trunk rings 21–22; tail rings 46–48; subdorsal rings 4.25–2.75 + 6.00–6.75 = 9.00–10.50.

Head and Body: Body elongate, trunk moderately shallow, somewhat deeper in adult females than adult males, upper profile slightly convex near dorsal-fin base; body posterior to dorsal fin 16–48% longer than body length anterior to dorsal fin; head aligned with body; head length 7.9 in SL; snout long, 58–66% HL; snout depth 9–21% 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.

Fins: 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.<-->


Commonly to 15cm, with a maximum length of 22cm SL.


Overall golden brown to dark brown with a dark-margined silvery white line on the side of the head just below eye. Females have a pale blue line from the interorbital along side of dorsal ridge to below middle of dorsal fin; many small pale ocelli above, with pale blue chevron-shaped vertical line on each body ring below. Males have a series of white spots just above the pouch.


Unknown - liklely to feed on small crustaceans.





Similar Species

M. mollisoni is morphology similar to M. semistriatus, sharing the pale lateral stripe on the head as well as the number of trunk rings and subdorsal rings. However M. mollisoni has 28 dorsal fin rays compared to 36-40 in M. semistriatus and has 18 rather than 12-14 pectoral fin rays.<-->


Species Citation


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa Thompson

Mollison's Pipefish, Mitotichthys mollisoni (Scott 1955)


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

Kuiter, R.H. 2008. Syngnathidae. In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter (eds). The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, Australia.

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.

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

Paxton, J.R., J.E. Gates, D.F. Hoese & D.J. Bray. 2006. Syngnathidae (Pp. 810–846). In  Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (Eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Fishes. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Australia., 3 vols.

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.

Scott, E.O.G. 1955. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 7. Pap. Proc. Roy. Soc. Tas. 89: 131, pl. 1.

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CAAB Code:37282022

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