A member of the Syngnathidae family, pipefish are closely related to seahorses. The banded pipefish is restricted to tropical waters but nevertheless enjoys an impressive range. It is found throughout the
Indo-Pacific from the coasts of Australia to the reefs of South Africa, and is distinguished by its elongated, pipe-like body and thick reddish-brown and white horizontal stripes. This well-camouflaged fish is found beneath overhangs and in crevices on the reef wall, and is notable for its strange method of reproduction. After the female pipefish deposits her eggs in the male’s pouch, the male incubates and eventually gives birth to the couple’s offspring. This species is often spotted in mating pairs.
Also known as the common or greater pipefish, the longsnout pipefish is very widespread. It is an amazingly adaptable species, capable of surviving in the freezing waters of the Baltic Sea, or in the balmy waters of the Mediterranean. Despite its large range, the
only records of the longsnout pipefish in the Indo-Pacific are from South Africa. Colours are variable (from light green to dark brown), and the species can reach up to 50 centimetres in length. In warm climates, individuals are usually much smaller. The longsnout pipefish lives in sea grass beds, and males are capable of incubating eggs from several different females. When they give birth, the juvenile pipefish are already perfectly formed, measuring approximately 2.6 centimetres.