Spotted Pipefish, Stigmatopora argus (Richardson 1840)


Other Names: Gulf Pipefish, Peacock Pipefish

A Spotted Pipefish, Stigmatopora argus, at St Leonards, Port Phillip, Victoria. Source: Julian K. Finn / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution

Summary:
A slender greenish-brown pipefish, usually with evenly scattered small dark or pale spots, sometimes ocellated spots, often covering all but the underside, and an almost prehensile tail that lacks a caudal fin.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Stigmatopora argus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2020, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/3130

Spotted Pipefish, Stigmatopora argus (Richardson 1840)

More Info


Distribution

Seal Rocks, New South Wales, southwards to Dongara, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand.Commonly inhabits seagrass beds in inshore bays and estuaries, but occurs to depths of at least 8 m and has been found among floating Sargassum sp.

Features

Dorsal fin 37–64; Anal fin 4; Pectoral fin 13-18; Body rings 16–23 + 78–91; Subdorsal rings 11.50–6.25 + 7.00–12.25 = 14.75–22.75.

Body very slender and elongate, trunk shallow, not conspicuously broad in adult females, body posterior to dorsal fin approx. equal to that before dorsal fin; body encased in ring like bony plates; STR and TR and STAR continuous; ITR and ITAR continuous; LTR not confluent with LTAR, LTR ending on 8th-18th tail ring; eggs brooded by males in enclosed brood pouch on underside of tail just behind anal fin; tail not prehensile but very slender and flexible.  Head aligned with body; snout very long (62-72% HL) and slender (snout depth 3-9% snout length), tubular; longitudinal opercular ridge complete in young, often incomplete or vestigial in subadults and adults. Single dorsal fin centrally on back, with relatively elongate base, origin on 9th-13th trunk ring; anal fin tiny, below middle of dorsal fin; caudal fin absent.  Pectoral fins small.

Size

To 25 cm TL.

Colour

Highly variable in colour - mostly greenish-brown, usually with evenly scattered small dark or pale spots, sometimes ocellated spots, often covering all but the underside; unspotted individuals not uncommon; brood pouch folds of adult males often with longitudinal pale stripes. A fine orange band on the dorsal surface of females becomes more obvious during the breeding season.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds on tiny crustaceans such as mysids.

Biology

Maximum recorded brood size 41 eggs. 

Conservation

Remarks

Although the tail is not prehensile, individuals may curl it loosely around seagrasses and algae. Numbers of trunk rings, dorsal-fin rays and other features are geographically variable; fishes in Tasmania and Western Australia have higher counts and reach a greater length than elsewhere.

Similar Species

Although female Stigmatopora argus lack the exceptionally broad trunk of adult female S. nigra, some individuals have a marginal fleshy fold on the lateral trunk ridge. S. narinosa and S. argus both have elongated narrow, shallow snouts however the snout of S. narinosa is shorter, wider and more elevated. The brood pouch of S. narinosa extends 15–18 rings from the anal ring compared to 14–24 in S. argus, and 12-16 in S. nigra. S. narinosa is distinguished from S. nigra in having 9 rather than 6 sub-dorsal tail rings, a greater average number of dorsal rays (40.8 versus 36), subdorsal tail rings (9.08 versus 6.23) and subdorsal rings (19.8 versus 16.8).

Etymology

Species Citation

Syngnathus argus Richardson, 1840, Proc. Zool. Soc. London 8: 29. Type locality: Australia, probably TAS.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2020

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Spotted Pipefish, Stigmatopora argus (Richardson 1840)

References


Browne, R.K. & Smith, K. 2007. A new pipefish, Stigmatopora narinosa (Syngnathidae) from South Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 64: 1-6

Carlyle, C. & Pollom, R. 2016. Stigmatopora argus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T88342897A115514252. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T88342897A88342927.en. Downloaded on 03 March 2020.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 2. Note on some South Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 243-248. (described as Stigmatophora olivacea)

Dawson, C.E. 1982. Review of the Indo-Pacific pipefish genus Stigmatopora (Syngnathidae). Records of the Australian Museum 34(13): 575-605 figs 1-11

Dawson, C.E. 1985. Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas). Ocean Springs (Mississippi) : Gulf Coast Research Laboratory 230 pp. 293 figs pl. 1.

Dawson, C.E. 1994. Family Syngnathidae. pp. 440-475 figs 391-426 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp.

Edgar, G.J. & Shaw, C. 1995. The production and trophic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and trophic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western Port, Victoria. Journal of Experimental marine Biology and Ecology 194: 83–106.

Hutchins, J.B. 2005. Checklist of marine fishes of Recherche Archipelago and adjacent mainland waters. pp. 425-449 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I. & Kendrick, G.A. (eds). Proceedings of the Twelfth International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Esperance, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Kaup, J.J. 1853. Uebersicht der Lophobranchier. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 19(1): 226-234 

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2 (described as Gastrotokeus gracilis)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2008. Syngnathidae. pp. 448-479 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Seaford, Australia : Aquatic Photographics pp. 331. 

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Lucas, A.H.S. 1891. On the occurrence of certain fish in Victorian seas, with descriptions of some new species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria ns 3(2): 8-14 pl. 3 (described as Stigmatophora argus brevicaudata)

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 4. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(2): 202-387 (described as Stigmatophora depressiuscula and Stigmatophora gracilis) See ref at BHL

Parkinson, K.L., Booth, D.J. & Lee, J.E. 2012. Validation of otolith daily increment formationfor two temperate syngnathid fishes: the pipefishes Stigmatopora argus and Stigmatopora nigraJournal of Fish Biology 80: 698–704 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.03194.x

Richardson, J. 1840. On some new species of fishes from Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 8: 25-30.

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Steffe, A.S., Westoby, M. & Bell, J.D. 1989. Habitat selection and diet in two species of pipefish from seagrass: sex differences. Marine Ecology Progress Series 55: 23–30.

Stewart, A.L. 2015. Families Syngnathidae, Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macroramphosidae. pp. 1050-1072 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37282017

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern; EPBC Marine Listed

Depth:0-10 m

Max Size:25 cm TL

Native:Endemic

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map