Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.  Pesce fantasma

Solenostomus paradoxus    Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Class: Actinopterygii    Order: Syngnathiformes    Family: Solenostomidae    Size: to 11 cm.

Short skin filaments on snout and body and fins with jagged edges given "spiky appearance". Solitary, small groups or more commonly in male & female pairs. Usually they remain in restricted home range.

Indonesia, Philippines, Micronesia, Solomon Island, Australia and Fiji.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma

Although relatively common, ornate ghost pipefish are very well-camouflaged and difficult to find.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma

Ornate Ghost Pipefish Female variation.  Frequently hover head down among arms of crinoid, black corals, gorgonians and soft corals.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma

Juvenile Ornate Ghost Pipefish.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma
Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma

Female variation. Highly variable colors dependent on habitat. 

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus paradoxus.    Pesce fantasma

Solenostomus halimeda     Halimeda Ghost Pipefish

Class: Actinopterygii   Order: Syngnathiformes     Family: Solenostomidae     Size: to 7 cm.

Green to whitish gray, fin lobes rounded resembling the leaf-like segments of Halimeda algae where they shelter. Solenostomus halimeda can reach a length of 6.5 cm and is the smallest of the ghost pipefishes. They feed on tiny crustaceans, sucked inside through their long snouts. Usually solitary or in pairs.

Indo-West Pacific. Maldives, Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Velvet Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus sp.

Solenostomus sp.    Velvet Ghost Pipefish

Class: Actinopterygii    Order: Syngnathiformes.   Family: Solenostomidae    Size: to 5 cm.

This one is a rare find and has not even been classified properly yet. Their body color, texture and shape mimics sponges, and they are usually brightly colored, from pink to red to purple. They live most commonly around sponge corals that they use to hide. Scientists know very little about this species and have yet to describe it. 

Photograph taken in Indonesia

Robust Ghost Pipefish  Solenostomus cyanopterus

Solenostomus cyanopterus      Robust Ghost Pipefish

Class: Actinopterygii    Order: Syngnathiformes     Family: Solenostomidae     Size: to 17 cm.

Robust ghost pipefish are the largest in the family and can reach up to 17 cm. They look quite similar to seagrass, which makes them difficult to spot. They usually float around with seagrass and also rock back and forth with water movement, just like seagrass. Colors vary from brown to green to yellow. 

Indo-West Pacific, Read Sea, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and E. Africa.

Paolo Cudicini

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