Whiteface Pipefish, Cosmocampus darrosanus (Dawson & Randall 1975

Other Names: D'Arros Pipefish, White Pipefish

This small coral reef species lives on shallow reef flats and inshore tide pools.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa.J. Thompson, Cosmocampus darrosanus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1524

Whiteface Pipefish, Cosmocampus darrosanus (Dawson & Randall 1975

More Info


Tropical Indo-West Pacific, from East Africa to Guam (Micronesia) and Queensland, Australia. In Australian waters, known from High Island (17º09´S), Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; inhabits inshore tide pools and coral reef flats to a depth of 3 m. 


Meristics: D 22-23; P 11-12; Trunk rings 16-17; Tail rings 29-31.

Head and body: Head length 7.9-10.1 in SL; short snout, length 2.6-3.1 in HL, snout depth 1.7-2.3 in snout length; median dorsal snout ridge emarginate or with 1-2 low dorsal projections; dermal flaps present on eye and elsewhere on head. Superior trunk and tail ridges discontinuous; lateral trunk ridge straight, ends near anal ring.


Maximum length about 80 mm.


Mottled brownish; dorsum of body often with several irregular pale bars; snout region in front of eyes bony white.


Unknown - likely to feed on copepods, small isopods and ostracods.


Reproduction: Ovoviviparous (gives birth to live young). The eggs are brooded by the males in a pouch under the tail that protects the dorsal surface and side of the egg mass, leaving the ventral surface exposed; males begin brooding at 43 mm TL.

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

Larvae: Morphologically similar to adults.


Of no interest to  fisheries.


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

IUCN: Not evaluated.

Similar Species

The combination of 16 trunk rings, 29-30 tail rings, 23 dorsal fin rays, smooth ridges and short snout clearly separates C. darrosanus from congeners. C. darrosanus is most similar to the smaller species C. balli (Hawaiian endemic) and C. banneri but differs markedly in colour pattern and some meristics.


Cosmocampus is from the Greek, kosmos meaning order, organisation and kampos meaning sea-animal. Species name darrosanus is after the type-locality, D'Arros Island.

Species Citation

Syngnathus darrosanus Dawson & Randall 1975, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 88(25): 269,  off eastern side of D'Arros Island, Amirante Isles, depth 0-2.1 m.


Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa.J. Thompson

Whiteface Pipefish, Cosmocampus darrosanus (Dawson & Randall 1975


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

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, 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. 2009. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia. 240 pp.

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.

Myers, R.F. & T.J. Donaldson. 2003. The fishes of the Mariana Islands. Micronesica  35-36: 598-652.

Paulus, T. 1999. Family Syngnathidae. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.E. Niem. 1999. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO, Rome.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282054

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map