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.
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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).