Sculptured Pipefish, Choeroichthys sculptus (Günther 1870)

A Sculptured Pipefish, Choeroichthys sculptus, from the Great Astrolabe Reef, Fiji. Source: Rick Winterbottom. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


The small secretive Sculptured Pipefish has a short snout, and body and tail sections of about equal length. It is dark brown in colour with 2-3 rows of black-edged white spots along the sides, larger white spots along the back and darker spots on the sides and lower part of the head.

Cite this page as:
Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray, Choeroichthys sculptus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Sculptured Pipefish, Choeroichthys sculptus (Günther 1870)

More Info


Widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific from East Africa to the Tuamotos and Line islands, north to southern Japan and south to Australia. The Sculptured Pipefish is known in Australia from off northwestern Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. The species inhabits coral reef flats, lagoons, seagrass beds and seaward reefs in 2-6m.


Meristics: D 27-34; P 19-22; Trunk rings 18-21; Tail rings 21-25; Subdorsal rings 6.25-8.25.

Snout short, depth 3.5 or less in length; ridges smooth to finely denticulate; trunk and tail rings typically notched between rings; scutella conspicuous each with projecting ridge or keel; without knob-like projections on rear margins of trunk rings; odontid processes usually conspicuous under magnification, premaxillary projections bluntly pointed.

Dorsal fin tiny, not bicoloured.


To 8.5 cm TL.


Overall tan to dark brownish-black with small black spots and some white speckles dorsally; males with small white ocelli in a parallel series along the trunk.


Likely to feed on small crustaceans.


The sexes are separate and males brood the eggs in an enclosed pouch on underside of trunk, usually in a single layer of two parallel rows. Males may be brooding at 4.5cm. The larvae are undescribed.




Marine listed in Australia under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 EPBC Act


This rare species is known in Australia from only a few specimens.

Similar Species

The keeled scutella of C. sculptus readily distinguishes this species from others in the genus Choeroichthys.


Choeroichthys is from the Greek choiros (pig) and ichthys (fish). The specific name sculptus is from the Latin sculptus (carve) in reference to the conspicuous keeled scutella.

Species Citation

Doryichthys sculptus Günther 1870, Cat. Fish. Brit. Mus. 8: 185, Fiji.


Thompson, Vanessa J. & Dianne J. Bray

Sculptured Pipefish, Choeroichthys sculptus (Günther 1870)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282045

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