Reticulate Pipefish, Corythoichthys conspicillatus (Jenyns 1842)

Other Names: Reticulated Pipefish, Yellowbanded Pipefish

A Reticulate Pipefish, Corythoichthys conspicillatus, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 25 February 2009. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


A pipefish with reddish to reddish-brown and yellow bands overlain with a reticulated pattern of lines, red spots on the snout, and a pink to reddish tail with a white margin. Males have a bluish-black blotch around the anus. Reticulate Pipefish are often misidentified as Corythoichthys flavofasciatus, a species confined to the Red Sea.

Cite this page as:
Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray, Corythoichthys conspicillatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Reticulate Pipefish, Corythoichthys conspicillatus (Jenyns 1842)

More Info


Offshore reefs of Western Australia - Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef, and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific, from the Red Sea to French Polynesia. 

Inhabits seagrass beds or sandy and rubble areas on sheltered reefs at depths of 1-25 m; often seen in pairs or small groups.


Dorsal fin 26-36; Pectoral fin 13-17; Trunk rings 15-17; Tail rings 23-39.

Head length in SL 6.8-10.9; short snout, 2.3 in HL; snout depth in snout length 3.5-6.3; prenuchal and nuchal ridges smooth; median snout ridge usually with slight dorsal emargination; eye prominent.

Dorsal fin origin usually before the anterior margin of the first tail ring; dorsal fin base in HL 0.7-1.2.


Reaches 180 mm TL.


Head with prominent lateral stripes, snout with red spots; trunk with irregularly banded pattern that may be broken up in large blotches and reticulations, yellow streaks or bands in the pale interspaces; dorsal fin often with rows of translucent spots; males with a blue-black spot on ventral surface of the anal ring.


Feeds mainly on copepods but also on small isopods and ostracods.


Males and females form monogamous pairs and tend to remain within their home range.The eggs are brooded by the males in a pouch under the tail. The pouch protects the dorsal surface and side of the egg mass, leaving the ventral surface exposed. Males begin brooding at 72 mm TL.

Eggs are deposited in 2-17 transverse rows within a gelatinous matrix.

Larvae are planktonic and morphologically similar to the adults; translucent postlarval dorsal and ventral finfolds persist in 39-58 mm SL.


Sometimes collected for the aquarium trade.


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


The blue-black blotch around the anus of the male is more intense during courtship.

Similar Species

C. flavofasciatus is the only pipefish in which males have a persistent blue-black blotch on the ventral surface of the anal ring. Females and small males may be confused with C. intestinalis but can be distinguished by the higher average head length in SL ratio of C. flavofasciatus (9.2 versus 8.0) and the long median ventral blotch on the head and 1st trunk ring which is absent in C. intestinalis.


Corythoichthys is from the Greek, korys, korythos for helmet and the Greek, ichtys meaning fish.

Species Citation

Syngnathus flavofasciatus Rüppell 1838, Fische des Rothen Meeres Vol. 4: 144. Type locality: El Tûr, north of Sharm el Sheikh, Gulf of Suez, depth 0-9.1 m.


Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray

Reticulate Pipefish, Corythoichthys conspicillatus (Jenyns 1842)


Allen, G.R. & M.V. Erdmann. 2008. Corythoichthys benedetto, a new pipefish (Pisces: Syngnathidae) from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 13(3-4): 121-126.

Dawson, C.E. 1977. Review of the Pipefish genus Corythoichthys with description of three new species. Copeia 1977(2): 295-338

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

Dawson, C.E. & J.E. Randall. 1975. Notes on Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Pisces: Syngnathidae) with description of two new species. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 88(25): 263-280.

Hoese DF, Bray DJ, Paxton JR & Allen GR (2006). Fishes. In Beesley PL & Wells A (eds.) Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia 2178 pp.

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

Michael, S.W. (1998). Reef Fishes Volume 1. A Guide to Their Identification, Behaviour and Captive Care. Microcosm Ltd. Shellbourne, Vermont 624 pp.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes: a comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia, 3rd revised and expanded edition. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 330 pp.

Paulus T. (1999) Family Syngnathidae pp 2264-2276 In Carpenter K.E. & Niem V.H. (eds.) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide For Fisheries Purposes. FAO Vol. 4: 2069-2790.

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. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 720 pp.

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. 2nd Ed., revised and expanded. Crawford House Publishing Pty Ltd. Bathurst, NSW, Australia. 557 pp.

Rüppell, W.P.E. 1838. Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig. Fische des Rothen Meeres. Frankfurt Vol. 4: 81-148.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282032

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:EPBC Act Marine Listed

Depth:1-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:18 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map