Pacific Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys brachysoma (Bleeker 1855)

Other Names: Pacific Short-bodied Pipefish, Pale-blotched Pipefish, Shortbodied Pipefish, Short-bodied Pipefish

A Pacific Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys brachysoma, at Point Murat, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, June 2020. Source: Glen Whisson / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial


Males are wide-bodied, dark brown with scattered small white spots. Females are more slender with two rows of black spots along the side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022, Choeroichthys brachysoma in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 May 2024,

Pacific Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys brachysoma (Bleeker 1855)

More Info


Exmouth Gulf and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, to Moreton Bay, Queensland; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Marshall and Society Islands, north to the Philippines and Japan and south to Australia. 

Inhabits tide pools, seagrass areas, coral reef lagoons and seaward reefs, in depths to 27 m.


Dorsal fin 18-26; Anal fin 4; Pectoral fin 18-23; Caudal fin 10; Trunk rings 14-18; Tail rings 17-20; Total rings 40-43; Subdorsal rings 5.5-2.5 + 0.00-1.75 = 3.75-6.0.

Superior trunk and tail rings continuous; inferior trunk ridge ending on anal ring; lateral trunk ridge continuous with inferior tail ridge; scutella without keels.

Lateral and median dorsal snout ridges present; margins of head and body ridges smooth to finely serrate; trunk and tail ridges deeply notched or slightly indented between rings; knob-like projections absent on rear margins of trunk rings. HL 4.1-5.9 in SL; snout length 1.8-2.4 in HL; snout depth 3.8-5.8 in snout length.


To 7 cm TL


Body overall dark brown with some pale speckling. A dark lateral stripe is usually present on the snout and opercle. Females usually have a row of dark spots above and below the lateral trunk ridge. Males usually have an incomplete row of spots above the lateral trunk ridge and a complete row below.


Pipefishes generally feed by picking or sucking their prey via a rapid intake of water through the elongate snout. However, this species has distinct odontid processes, or tooth-like structures, on the premaxillae and dentaries of its jaws which may facilitate grazing (Dawson & Fritzsche 1975).


The sexes are separate, individuals are solitary. Males and females are conspicuously sexually dimorphic, and females lay their eggs onto the underside of the trunk of the male. The eggs are brooded in an enclosed pouch, and are usually arranged in a single layer of two parallel rows in the pouch. Males may be brooding at a length of 35-40 mm. The larvae are undescribed but are likely to be pelagic.


Choeroichthys brachysoma is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern, and is a listed Marine species under under s248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 EPBC Act.


Similar Species

The Pacific Shortbody Pipefish is most similar to Choeroichthys suillus which has higher ring counts than C. brachysoma (trunk rings 18-19 versus 14-18 and total rings 37-39 versus 31-36).


The specific name brachysoma is from the Greek brachys (= short) and soma (= body) in reference to the relatively short body of this species.

Species Citation

Syngnathus brachysoma Bleeker 1855, Nat. Tijdschr. Ned. Ind. 8: 327. Type locality: Batu Archipelago, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Pacific Shortbody Pipefish, Choeroichthys brachysoma (Bleeker 1855)


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Bleeker, P. 1855. Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van de Batoe-eilanden. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 8: 305-328 See ref at BHL

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282042

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-27 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6.5 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map