Syngnathoides biaculeatus, the Alligator Pipefish, is a member of the family Syngnathidae, which also includes the seahorses and sea dragons. Alligator Pipefish are found in shallow coastal waters, living among seagrasses. They eat small microinvertebrates, such as zooplankton, using their pipe-shaped mouth (hence the name pipefish). Alligator pipefish have been reported to achieve a maximum length of 260 to 300 mm. The Alligator Pipefish is thought to be the most heavily exploited pipeﬁsh in traditional Chinese medicine. (Barrows et al. 2008 and references therein)
As is the case for the males of all pipefishes and seahorses, male Alligator Pipefish take major responsibility in the protection of the eggs before they hatch. Eggs reside in brood pouches of the males until they have fully developed and hatch as juveniles. Initial clutch size is directly correlated to the size of the male carrying the eggs. Reproduction occurs year-round and generation time is short. (Barrows et al. 2008 and references therein).
The Alligator Pipefish has a wide geographic range, being found in seagrass habitats in warm waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The range extends from the northern Red Sea and the eastern coast of Africa eastward to Japan, Samoa, the Tonga Islands, and Australasia (Dawson 1985, cited in Barrows et al. 2008).
- Additional information and references can be found on the IUCN Red List page for this species
- Barrows, A. P., Martin-Smith, K. M., and M.S. Baine. 2009. Population variables and life-history characteristics of the alligator pipefish, Syngnathoides biaculeatus in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 806-819.