Stigmatopora nigra

Wide-bodied pipefish
Stigmatopora nigra
Stigmatopora nigra, adult, NSW, Australia, Photo: Tom Davis
Stigmatopora nigra
Stigmatopora nigra, adult, NSW, Australia, Photo: Tom Davis
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Stigmatopora nigra
Stigmatopora nigra


Temperate Australasia


Relatively small species that lacks a tail fin, has a long snout and a pattern of extremely fine black dots covering the body. It is easily confused with the spotted pipefish but differs from that species in having the dorsal fin further forward on the body (originating on the fifth to seventh trunk ring, rather than on the ninth to thirteenth). The name wide-bodied refers to the swelling of the trunk that occurs in males during the breeding season; at other times of the year this species is one of the thinnest pipefishes. Wide-bodied pipefish occur in enormous abundance in eelgrass beds (Heterozostera nigricaulis), but individuals are also frequently found attached to small pieces of floating algae.


Max Size: 16 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 10.9-21.2°C

Depth: 1-35 m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Infrequent (1.6% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Solitary (1 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney