Redbanded Pipefish, Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall 1975

Other Names: Brownbanded Pipefish, Brown-banded Pipefish, Fijian Banded Pipefish, Red-banded Pipefish

A Redbanded Pipefish, Corythoichthys amplexus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, March 2020. Source: Anne Hoggett / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


The Redbanded Pipefish has broad reddish-brown bands with white spots encircling its body. This secretive species lives in caves and crevices on coral reefs, often aggregating in small groups near cave entrances.

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

Redbanded Pipefish, Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall 1975

More Info


Known from the Dampier Archipelago and Scott Reef, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef and Ashmore Reef, Coral Sea, to Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-west Pacific, from the Gulf of Oman and East Africa to Samoa, the Philippines, north to southern Japan. Inhabits coral reef lagoons and seaward reef areas, usually in caves and crevices in 3-30 m.


Dorsal fin 23-30; Pectoral fin 2-15; Trunk rings 14-16; Tail rings 35-39.

Head length 8.4-12.0 in S; snout length 2.1-2.8 in HL, snout depth 3.7-5.4 in snout length; superior trunk ridges minutely denticulate; median snout ridge, frontal, prenuchal and nuchal ridges smooth; median snout ridge usually with slight dorsal emargination; eye prominent.

Dorsal fin originates between anterior margins of 1st and 2nd tail rings.


Reaches 95 mm TL.


Base colour light tan; body with broad reddish-brown bands (3-4 rings wide) crossing side and dorsal surface, sometimes divided to form two close-set bands, sometimes indistinct on posterior third of tail; head without prominent stripes behind eye; ventral surface of anterior trunk rings blotched with dark brown in males, often with small paired spots in females.


Preys upon small crustaceans.


Males and females form monogamous pairs, and males brood the eggs 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 57 mm TL.

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


Sometimes collected for the aquarium trade.


IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Corythoichthys amplexus is a listed Marine species under under s248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999 Marine Species).


Males and females form monogamous pairs and individuals have been shown to recognise their partners following a period of separation.

Similar Species

The combination of broadly banded coloration, 15 trunk rings and 14 pectoral fin rays clearly separates C. amplexus from other species in the genus. C. flavofasciatus is most similar but has on average one more subdorsal ring, different colouration and the dorsal fin origin is usually before the anterior margin of the first tail ring compared to behind in C. amplexus.


Corythoichthys is from the Greek, korys, korythos for helmet and ichtys meaning fish. The specific name amplexus is from the Latin meaning encircling in reference to the broad encircling colour bands.

Species Citation

Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall 1975, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 88(25): 271. Type locality: Beqa Lagoon, Stuart and Yanuca Islands, Fiji Islands.


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson


Australian Faunal Directory

Redbanded Pipefish, Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall 1975


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (p. 74, as amplex)

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

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

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.

Fritzsche, R., Matsuura, K., Allen, G., Collette, B., Nelson, J., Dooley, J., Carpenter, K., Bartnik, S., Robinson, E. & Morgan, S.K. 2010. Corythoichthys amplexus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 28 June 2015.

Gronell, A.M. 1984. Courtship, spawning and social organisation of the pipefish Corythoichthys intestinalis (Pisces : Syngnathidae) with notes on two congeneric species. Zeitshrift für Tierpsychologie 65: 1-24.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical reef-fishes of the western Pacific Indonesia and adjacent waters. Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Jakarta. 314 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

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.

Laboute, P. & R. Grandperrin. 2000. Poissons de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Editions Catherine Ledru: 7-520.

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. & V.H. Niem (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. Available online at:

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp.

Whiteman, E.A. & I.M. Côté. 2004. Monogamy in marine fishes. Biol. Rev. 79: 351-375.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282047

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern; EPBC Act Marine Listed

Depth:0-35 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9.5 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map