Short-tail Pipefish

Microphis brachyurus
Short-tail Pipefish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Microphis brachyurus
Other names Short Tail River Pipefish, Short Tailed Pipefish
Size Up to 12 cm (4.72 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow brackish water estuaries & mangroves to freshwater creeks & rivers
Depth Range 0 - 20 m (65 ft)
Short-tail Pipefish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Short-tail Pipefish is a species of marine fish found in the coastal waters of Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The body of the Short-tail Pipefish is elongated, thin, and covered with bony rings, which provide protection from predators. Their colour can vary from brownish-green to yellowish-brown, depending on the environment it inhabits. Its head is long and narrow, and its snout is pointed, which helps it to feed on small crustaceans and zooplankton.
  • This pipefish species is mostly found in shallow, rocky reefs and seagrass beds, where it can hide and hunt for food.
  • The Short-tail Pipefish is a monogamous species, meaning that it forms long-lasting pairs with a single partner.
  • During courtship, the male Short-tail Pipefish carries the eggs in a special pouch located on his belly, which provides protection and nutrients to the developing embryos. After the eggs hatch, the male Short-tail Pipefish releases the new-borns into the water, where they start their independent life.
  • This pipefish species belongs to the family Syngnathidae, which includes seahorses, pipefishes, and seadragons.
  • Their lifespan is not well documented, but it is believed to be between 1-5 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium & Snorkelling

Short-tail Pipefish do not typically have much interaction with people, as they are a relatively shy and elusive species that inhabits shallow waters along the coast of Australia. However, they may be encountered by divers, snorkelers, and other recreational users of the marine environment. Short-tail Pipefish can be rewarding aquarium fish for experienced keepers who are up to the challenge of providing for their specific needs. However, they may not be the best choice for beginners or those looking for a low-maintenance fish species.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Syngnathiformes

Family: Syngnathidae

Genus: Microphis

Species: Microphis brachyurus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Short-tail Pipefish is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that the species is not currently facing significant threats to its survival, and its population is stable.

Short-tail Pipefish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: None

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