Ridgenose Pipefish, Halicampus dunckeri (Chabanaud 1929)

Other Names: Duncker's Pipefish, Dusky Pipefish, Nose-ridge Pipefish, Red-hair Pipefish

A Ridgenose Pipefish, Halicampus dunckeri, at Data, Bali, Indonesia, July 2015. Source: Silke Baron / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution


A mottled whitish, greyish or brown pipefish with large eyes, a short snout with a pale tip and a rounded dorsal ridge, often irregular pale bars along the back, and dark bars along the underside.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2018, Halicampus dunckeri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3185

Ridgenose Pipefish, Halicampus dunckeri (Chabanaud 1929)

More Info


Exmouth, and offshore reefs of northern Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, to the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and possibly to the Capricorn-Bunker Group, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific

A reef associated species usually found on sandy and algal-rubble habitats.


Dorsal fin 16-20; Anal fin 2-3; Pectoral fin 10-13; Trunk rings 14; Tail rings 31-36.

Head length 9.6-14.7 in SL; short snout, snout length 3.0-4.4 in head length; snout depth 1.8-3.1 in snout length; median dorsal snout ridge continuous, elevated, the margin denticulate to spinulose posteriorly; eye large.

Pectoral fin base low to clearly elevated with entire to minutely serrate margins.


To 120 mm SL


Colour varies from pale to brown and black with 10-11 irregular, diffuse, pale or dark bands on sides and dorsal surface of body, and indications of dark bars on ventral surface of the trunk rings; snout tip often pale in dark specimens.


Preys on small planktonic crustaceans.


The eggs brooded are by the males in a semi-exposed pouch under the trunk. The pouch folds fall well short of the mid-line of the egg-filled pouch. Males may begin brooding at 75 mm SL.


Sometimes collected for the aquarium or curio trade.


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

Similar Species

H. dunckeri is most similar to H. boothae but has lower numbers of tail rings (31-36 versus 37-42) and attains a smaller size (120 mm SL versus at least 165 mm in H. boothae).


Halicampus is from the Greek, als, alis for salt and the Greek, kampe meaning bend.

Species Citation

Micrognathus dunckeri Chabanaud 1929, Bull. Soc. Zool. Fr. 54: 170. Type locality: Ambon, Indonesia (as Amboine).


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


Australian Faunal Directory

Ridgenose Pipefish, Halicampus dunckeri (Chabanaud 1929)


Allen, G.R. & M. Adrim. 2003. Coral reef fishes of Indonesia. Zool. Stud. 42(1): 1-72.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. pp. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.) Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106

Chabanaud, P. 1929. Remarques sur divers poissons de la famille des Syngnathidae et description de deux espèces nouvelles de l'Inde Archipélagique. Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France 54: 165-172 figs 1-5.

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

Dawson, C.E. 1986. Family No. 145: Syngnathidae (pp. 445-458). In Smith, M.M. & P.C. Heemstra. Smiths' Sea Fishes. Macmillan South Africa, Johannesburg. 1047 pp, 144 pls.

Fricke, R. 2004. Review of the pipefishes and seahorses (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) of New Caledonia, with descriptions of five new species. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie). 66S: 1-66.

Gronell, A.M. 1983. Pipefishes - seahorses of a different sort. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 31(11): 26-32.

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260

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.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 1-302.

Kuo, T. & Pollom, R. 2016. Halicampus dunckeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T65367574A67624507. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T65367574A67624507.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2018.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. & Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. 3rd revised ed. Coral Graphics, Guam. 330 pp, 192 pls.

Nakabo, T. 2002. (ed.) Fishes of Japan with pictorial keys to the species. English edition. Tokai University Press. vol. 1, 866 pp.

Paulus, T. 1999. Family Syngnathidae. pp 2264-2276, In Capenter 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. pp 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. 707 pp.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (as Micrognathus dunckeri

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105

Senou, H. & M. Aizawa. 1993. Two rare species of the genus Halicampus (Pisces; Syngnathidae) from the Ryukyu Islands. I. O. P. Diving News 4(1): 4-5. [In Japanese, English abstract.]

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282066

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern; EPBC Act Marine Listed

Depth:1-25 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated, algal-rubble areas

Max Size:12 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map