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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Syngnathidae > pipefishes
Alligator pipefish
Syngnathoides biaculeatus

Family Syngnathidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This fat pipefish is sometimes seen on our Southern shores, among Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides). Many were discovered during a seine net survey of Cyrene Reef.

Features: 20cm, grows to about 29cm. Body long and cylindrical tapering at the tail. It has a pair of tentacles on the snout. It is sometimes also called the Double-ended pipefish probably because both ends look similar. The tail is prehensile and does not have a tail fin. Females often have dark spots or blotches. The males carry the eggs below the body and tail. They are generally found in sheltered coastal shallows among seagrasses and seaweeds. May be green, brown or grey, to match their surroundings.

What does it eat? It feeds on tiny planktonic animals.

Human uses: This is among the pipefishes used in traditional Chinese medicine, to extract 'Hailong' considered an important drug. This species has been reared in captivity.

Pulau Semakau, Jun 05

Prehensile tail.

Eggs on the underside.
Pulau Semakau, Jun 05

A pair of tentacles on the long snout.

Pulau Semakau, May 08
Photo shared by Lin Juanhui on her flickr

Cyrene Reef, May 08

Pulau Sekudu, Feb 07

Alligator pipefishes on Singapore shores

Photos of Alligator pipefishes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H., 2000 (English edition). Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives: A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes TMC Publishing, UK. 240 pp.
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