Bonyhead Pipefish, Nannocampus subosseus Günther 1870

Other Names: Bony-headed Pipefish

Little is known of this endemic pipefish that is found in Western Australia.

Cite this page as:
Nannocampus subosseus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Feb 2020,

Bonyhead Pipefish, Nannocampus subosseus Günther 1870

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of Western Australia, from Point Dempster at the western edge of the Great Australian Bight, west and north to the Shark Bay region; found in coastal and offshore island habitats including shallow rocky and coral reefs,  rockpools, ledges, in association with seagrasses, coral, macroalgae and sandy habitats in 1–14 m.


Meristic features: D 14-18; trunk rings 15; tail rings 34-36; subdorsal rings.

Body elongated, trunk moderately shallow; head aligned with body, head length 11.3-13.2 in SL; snout short, 3.7-4.1 in HL and deep, 1.0-1.2 in snout length; dorsal margin of snout high and slightly convex in lateral profile, median dorsal snout ridge entire, low to distinctly elevated above dorsal rim of orbit, confluent with supraorbital ridges; opercular and other head ridges vestigial or obsolete; superior and inferior trunk ridges continuous with their respective tail ridges; lateral trunk ridge straight, ends near anal ring; principle body ridges entire, indistinct; scutella not keeled; without dermal flaps; tail not prehensile.

Fins: Dorsal-fin origin from anterior margin of penultimate trunk ring to posterior fourth of 1st tail ring, base not elevated; pectoral fins present or absent in subadults-adults; anal fin absent.


Maximum recorded length 100mm.


Brown to dark brown with a broad pale to white bar on side and ventral surface of snout; dorsal surface of head often pale; body with around 6 diffuse dark-margined bars crossing side and dorsal surface of body.


Unknown – likely to feed on small crustaceans.


Reproduction: Reproductive mode – ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young) with males brooding eggs in a brood pouch under the tail; pouch plates and pouch folds are present, and the pouch closure is everted. Males are likely to be brooding at 87 mm TL.

Eggs: Not described.

Larvae: Not described.


Although individuals have been taken in trawls, the species is of no interest to fisheries or aquaculture.


CITES: not listed.

IUCN Red List Status: not evaluated.

Australian Commonwealth legislation: Marine listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).


Very little is known of this species.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282094

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:EPBC Act Marine Listed

Depth:0-14 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm SL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map