Boo! Here to get you in the Halloween spirit is our spooky October Fish of the Month, the Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus!
Survey Regions: Ornate Ghost Pipefishes are found from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Central Indo-Pacific and South Pacific, including Indonesia, Philippines, Micronesia, Fiji, and more. Follow these links to see distribution reports for this species in the following REEF survey regions: South Pacific (SOP), Central Indo-Pacific (CIP). Their range also includes the Indian Ocean & Red Sea (IORS) region, but have not yet been reported on a survey there.
Size: They can reach just over 4 inches, or about 11 cm.
Identifying Features: Ornate Ghost Pipefishes have slender bodies and long, narrow, pipe-like snouts. They have short filaments on their body, giving a spiky or "prickly" appearance. Their colors can vary depending on habitat, and they may be seen among crinoids, black corals, gorgonians, and soft corals. They come in shades of red, orange, yellow, white, black, or even a combination of colors.
Fun Facts: Ornate Ghost Pipefishes eat tiny crustaceans and are usually seen hovering with their heads facing down. They may be solitary, in small groups, or in pairs containing a male and female. Due to their unique appearance, they are a highly sought after fish for photographers and surveyors. It is thought that they spend the majority of their lives floating in the open ocean as larvae, until they settle to the bottom as adults.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month.
Photo by Florent Charpin.