Gale's Pipefish, Campichthys galei (Duncker 1909)


A small tan, yellowish brown or dark brown pipefish, either plain in colour, or with pale blotches on the head, about 12 diffuse pale bars crossing the back and upper sides, and sometimes a large red blotch behind the pectoral fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2021, Campichthys galei in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023,

Gale's Pipefish, Campichthys galei (Duncker 1909)

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Gulf St Vincent, South Australia, to Shark Bay, Western Australia. 

Usually inhabits shallow shelly or rubble substrates, and sparse seagrass beds to about 18 m; occasionally on rocky reefs.


Dorsal fin 16-17; Anal fin 4; Pectoral fin 7-8; Caudal fin 8; Trunk rings 16-17; Tail rings 32-36; Subdorsal rings 1.00-0.00 + 2.50-3.75 = 3.50-4.50.

Body slender and elongate, trunk shallow, lateral trunk ridge usually ending on 1st tail ring; snout length 30-37% HL, snout depth 48-67% snout length; median dorsal snout ridge not plate-like, little elevated, usually with 2-3 crests or projections; opercular ridge prominent, angled upward towards gill opening; lateral trunk ridge usually ending on first tail ring; tail rather thick at tip, not prehensile; dorsal fin short-based, located centrally on back; anal fin tiny, below dorsal fin origin; caudal fin small, rounded.


To 6 cm in length.


Overall tan, yellowish brown or dark brown. Body either plain or with pale blotches on head and about 12 diffuse pale bars crossing top and upper part of sides; sometimes with large red blotch behind pectoral fin.


Unknown, although likely to prey on tiny crustaceans.


Very little is known of the biology of this species. Males brood the eggs in an enclosed pouch with an everted closure on the underside of trunk. Males may be brooding at 36.5mm.


Although Campichthys galei may inhabit trawl grounds, it is unlikely to be taken as bycatch due to its small size.


IUCN: Least Concern

Australian Government Legislation: Campichthys galei is a listed Marine species under under s248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999 Marine Species).

State Government Legislation: All members of the family Syngnathidae (seadragons, pipefish, pipehorses) are protected in South Australia, under the Fisheries (General) Variation Regulations 2006 of the South Australian Fisheries Act.


Most specimens have been collected in fine-meshed trawls.

Similar Species

The similar Campichthys tryoni has 10 caudal fin rays, and a more elevated and plate-like snout ridge.


The species is named for Mr Gale.

Species Citation

Ichthyocampus galei Duncker 1909, Fauna Süd.-Aust. 2(15): 240. Type locality: Point Peron, ca. 55 km south of Perth, Western Australia, depth 0-7.6 m, (neotype).


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Gale's Pipefish, Campichthys galei (Duncker 1909)


Dawson, C.E. 1977. Synopsis of syngnathine pipefishes usually referred to the genus Ichthyocampus Kaup, with description of new genera and species. Bulletin of Marine Science 27(4): 595-650 figs 1-19 See ref online

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.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds.) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services, 176 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6

Hutchins, J.B. 2005. Checklist of marine fishes of Recherche Archipelago and adjacent mainland waters. pp. 425-449 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I. & Kendrick, G.A. (eds). Proceedings of the Twelfth International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Esperance, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

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.

Pollom, R. 2016. Campichthys galei (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65364120A115411601. Downloaded on 21 September 2021.

Whitley, G.P. 1940. Illustrations of some Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 9(4): 397-428 figs 1-45 pls 30-31 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282039

Biology:Males brood eggs

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-18 m

Max Size:6 cm


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map