Spinysnout Pipefish, Halicampus spinirostris (Dawson & Allen 1981)

Other Names: Spiny-snout Pipefish

This poorly known species has numerous distinctive spines on the snout.

Cite this page as:
Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray, Halicampus spinirostris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3188

Spinysnout Pipefish, Halicampus spinirostris (Dawson & Allen 1981)

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Known from the tropical Indo-west Pacific - Indonesia, northern Australia, the South China Sea, Vietnam across to American Samoa; inhabits shallow coral rubble areas in lagoons and intertidal zones of inshore coral reefs in 5-10 m.


Meristics: D 19-20; A usually 3; P 13-14; Trunk rings 14; Tail rings 33-35.

Head and body: Head short, length 10.0-11.3 in SL; snout short, length 3.1-3.8 in head length; snout depth 1.7-2.1 in snout length; median dorsal snout ridge discontinuous with 2-3 semi-isolated spines or ridge-like elevations; usually with three spines on side of snout and with spines or spine-like ridges on postorbital and posterior supraorbital regions of head; dorsal rim of orbit elevated; principle body ridges elevated.

Fins: Pectoral fin base protruding laterally with one distinct ridge.


To 120 mm TL


Pale to dark brown with around 4 broad dark bands on trunk, each separated by a thin white bar; large blackish blotch below eye and smaller ones behind eye, on operculum and pectoral fin base.


Not reported, but likely to prey on small crustaceans.


Reproduction: Ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young). The eggs are brooded by the males in a pouch on the tail and develops below 13 tail rings. The pouch plates are angled somewhat laterally.

Eggs: Not described.

Larvae: Not described.




Australian Government Legislation: Marine listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


Known from relatively few specimens.

Similar Species

H. spinirostris shares the modal count of 14 trunk rings, upturned opercular ridge and presence of one or more lateral spines or projections on the snout with H. nitidis, H. brocki and H. dunkeri.


Halicampus is from the Greek, als, alis for salt and the Greek, kampe meaning bend. The specific name spinirostris means ‘spiny nose or snout' in reference to the lateral snout spines.

Species Citation

Micrognathus spinirostris Dawson & Allen 1981, J. R. Soc. West. Aust. 64(2): 65, off Tantabiddi Creek, North West Cape, Western Australia, 21°55'S, 113°15'E, depth 10 m.


Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray

Spinysnout Pipefish, Halicampus spinirostris (Dawson & Allen 1981)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine fishes of tropical Australia and south-east Asia. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 292 pp.

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

Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The marine fishes of north-western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 201 pp.

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

Dawson, C.E & G.R. Allen. 1981. Micrognathus spinirostris, a new Indo-Pacific pipefish (Syngnathidae). J. R. Soc. West. Aust. 64(2): 65-68.

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.

Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (eds). Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. 2178 pp.

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

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282070

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map