Syngnathoides biaculeatus, the Alligator Pipefish, is a member of the family Syngnathidae (along with the pipefishes, this family includes the seahorses and sea dragons). Alligator Pipefish are found in shallow coastal waters, living among seagrasses. They feed on small crustaceans and fish (Nakamura et al. 2003), using their pipe-shaped mouth (hence the name pipefish). Alligator Pipefish grow to around 280 mm total length. 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 incubate the eggs before they hatch. Eggs are protected in male brood pouches until they have fully developed and hatch as juveniles. In this species, males have a simple "pouch" morphology in which the embryos are attached to the ventral surface of the male abdomen, which has no ﬂaps of surrounding tissue. 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 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).
- 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.
- Nakamura, Y., Horinouchi, M., Nakai T., and M. Sano. 2003. Food habits of fishes in a seagrass bed on a fringing coral reef at Iriomote Island, southern Japan. Ichthyological. Research 50:15-22.
- Additional information and references can be found on the IUCN Red List page for this species