Species Details

Details of Ornate Ghost Pipefish will be displayed below

Ornate Ghost Pipef...   

Common Name: Ghost Pipefish, Harlequin Ghost Pipefish, Ornate Ghost-pipefish
Scientific Name: Solenostomus paradoxus
Local Name: -
Dhivehi Name: -
Animalia  (Kingdom)
Chordata  (Plylum)
Teleostei  (Class)
Solenostomidae  (Family)
Solenostomus   (Genus)

Ornate Ghost Pipefish's description

Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) possesses the elongate snout and laterally compressed body that are typical of all syngnathoid fishes. More specific to the solenostomids is a dermal skeleton composed of stellate plates, a head region that represents over one third of the total body length and the presence of pelvic fins, two separate dorsal fins, an anal fin and a large ventral fin. Solenostomus paradoxus is further distinguished by the presence of abdominal spinules, additional plates at the dorsal- and anal-fin bases and the presence of nasal lamellae filling the nasal cavity of males. There is no body color representative of S. paradoxus. Typical color patterns include dark red with yellow and orange splotches and yellow with lighter spots. The Harlequin Ghost Pipefish is sexually dimorphic. Female S. paradoxus average 130 mm; males on average are 37% smaller. The main difference between males and females is the presence of a ventral brood pouch in females. This difference is most noticeable in the margins of the pelvic fins which are apposed in females and free in males.

Short description Morphology

Morphometrics Dorsal spines (total): 5; Dorsal soft rays (total): 17-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 17 - 21; Vertebrae: 32 - 33. Post-pelagic are almost fully transparent and more slender compared to those established in the benthic phase. Variable in color from black to red and yellow, usually in a mix of bands and spots. Total body number of plates 31-35. Caudal fin truncate, rounded or lanceolate. Caudal fins of females modified into brood pouch.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish's facts

Did you know?

  • Ornate Ghost Pipefish is although relatively common, ornate ghost pipefish are very well-camouflaged and difficult to find.
  • Underwater photographers and scuba divers are highly attracted to the unique appearance of Ornate Ghost Pipefish.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish's Relationship with Humans

This organism does not appear to adversely affect humans and Underwater photographers and scuba divers are highly attracted to the unique appearance of Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus).

Ornate Ghost Pipefish habitat

Solenostomus paradoxus is known to inhabit shallow waters with rocky and coral reefs (Orr and Fritzsche 1993), seagrasses, or areas with sandy or muddy bottoms (Fritzsche and Thiesfeld 1999). They are commonly found in beds of Halophila, Cystoseira, and Sargassum (Padmanabahn 1961, Fishelson 1966) where they float head down, mimicking seagrass fronds (Gerlach 2009). Solenostomus paradoxus has been noted to closely  associate with crinoids, gorgonian sea fans, and black coral trees, likely for refuge (Purcell et al. 2014). The species’ colouration is highly dependent on its current habitat, as it alters its colour to blend in with its surroundings (Orr and Fritzsche 1993, Gerlach 2009).

This species feeds on small benthic and pelagic invertebrates, mainly crustaceans (Fritzsche and Thiesfeld 1999). The species is an ambush predator that relies on its camouflage in order to hunt (Wetzel and Wourms 1995). Solenostomus paradoxus has an average of 33 body plates, but can range from 31 to 35 (Orr and Fritzsche 1993).

Unlike other syngnathids, female S. paradoxus brood their eggs in a brood pouch formed from their fused pelvic fins (Padmanabahn 1961, Orr and Fritzsche 1993).

Ornate Ghost Pipefish threats

Solenostomus paradoxus may be be declining somewhat due to the degradation and loss of coral reefs and/or seagrasses (Bruno and Selig 2007, Waycott et al. 2009), but it is able to utilize other habitat types. The species may be taken incidentally or targeted for use in the aquarium trade.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish's status