Manado Pipefish, Microphis manadensis (Bleeker 1856)

Other Names: Mando River Pipefish, Short-tailed Pipefish

A pipefish usually with a dark lateral stripe on the head and a broad dark stripe above the lateral trunk ridge. Females have a distinctive evenly spaced series of pale saddles over the back. Juveniles may have 3-4 brownish bands on the tail.

A single specimen, collected in Moreton Bay, Queensland, over 100 years ago, is the only known record of this species in Australian waters.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2021, Microphis manadensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024,

Manado Pipefish, Microphis manadensis (Bleeker 1856)

More Info


Tropical Western Pacific from Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Palau, the Solomon Islands; known in Australia from a single questionable record from Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical west Pacific: Indonesia east to Philippines and Solomon Islands, north to Taiwan.

Inhabits estuaries, freshwater streams and rivers up to 30 km from the coast.

found in streams and rivers from 


Dorsal fin 37-44; Pectoral fin 18-21; trunk rings 20-22; tail rings 24-26; subdorsal rings 3.25-2.0 + 6.0-7.25 = 8.25-10.25.

Head length in SL 6.0-7.3; long snout, slender, 1.8-2.0 in HL, snout depth in snout length 5.4-8.4; superior trunk and tail ridges discontinuous near vertical through rear of dorsal-fin base; superior trunk ridges not strongly elevated, margins finely denticulate to entire; lateral tail ridge ends on trunk, usually near vertical through dorsal-fin origin; inferior trunk and tail ridges discontinuous; ventral surface of trunk more or less V-shaped in adult females; median dorsal snout ridge low, entire.

Dorsal fin origin on trunk, its base not elevated; length of dorsal fin base in HL 1.0-1.2; pectoral fin base does not protrude strongly laterally; pectoral fin length in HL 6.4-7.2.


Maximum length 20 cm.


Usually with a dark lateral stripe on head and a broad dark stripe above the lateral trunk ridge. Females with distinctive evenly spaced series of pale saddles over the back. Juveniles may have 3-4 brownish bands on the tail.


Unknown, but likely to feed on tiny invertebrates.


Ovoviviparous (give birth to live young) with eggs brooded by males in brood pouch originating on 1st-3rd trunk ring; pouch plates well developed; membranous egg compartments present. Males may be brooding at 15.3 cm SL.

Eggs deposited in 1-14 transverse rows in 1-2 layers. Dawson (1984) noted that a 183mm standard length egg-carrying male had eggs in eight transverse rows with c. 69 eggs in the outer right row.


Of no interest to fisheries.


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


The Australian record of this species is based solely on the holotype of Doryichthys stictorhynchus Ogilby, 1912, a junior synonym of Microphis manadensis (Dawson, 1984)  and no specimens have been collected since that time.

Similar Species

Microphis manadensis has a greater number of trunk rings than M. pleurostictus or M. insularis (20-22 versus 17-19). It further differs from M. pleurostictus in having a higher average snout depth in snout length ratio and in having fewer tail rings than Microphis insularis (24-26 versus 30-33). Microphis manadensis has a lower average snout depth in snout length ration than Microphis brachyurus ssp. (6.7 versus 8.7-10.6) and higher frequencies of total rings (45-47 versus 39-44).


The specific name manadensis is for the type locality, Manado, Indonesia.

Species Citation

Syngnathus manadensis Bleeker 1856, Act. Soc. Sci. Indo-Neerl. 1: 78, Manado, Makassar, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Manado Pipefish, Microphis manadensis (Bleeker 1856)


Allen, G R. 1991. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea. Publication No. 9 of the Christensen Research Institute, Madang, Papua New Guinea. 1-268, Pls. 1-18.

Bleeker, P. 1856. Beschrijvengen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Menado en Makassar grootendeels verzameld op eene reis naar den Molukschen Archipel in het gevolg van den Gouverneur General Duymaer van Twist. Act. Soc. Sci. Indo-Neerl. 1: 1-80

Dawson, C.E. 1984. Revision of the genus Microphis Kaup (Pisces: Syngnathidae). Bull. Mar. Sci. 35(2): 117-181.

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

Duméril, A.H.A. 1870. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons, ou Ichthyologie Générale. Ganoides, Dipnés, Lophobranches. Paris : Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret Vol. 2 624 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Mem. Qld Mus. 43(2): 709-762.

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia. Pp. 1–333.

Ogilby, J.D. 1912. On some Queensland fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 1: 26-65, Pls. 12-14. (described as Doryichthys stictorhynchus) See ref at BHL

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.

Rachinski, T. & Pollom, R. 2016. Microphis manadensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T196444A2457848. Downloaded on 30 March 2021.

Zhang, Y-H., Ravi, V., Qin, G., et al. 2020. Comparative genomics reveal shared genomic changes in syngnathid fishes and signatures of genetic convergence with placental mammals. National Science Review 7(6): 964–977,

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282091

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Estuaries, rivers, streams

Max Size:20 cm SL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map