Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Halicampus crinitus, Banded pipefish, Insular pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout: short, top and side ridges well developed, top ridge - no spines
side head: ridges well developed
black & white rings OR yellow+white+ brown bars
D 17-32
A 2-4
body ridges prominent, toothed, notched between rings
lower body & tail ridges NOT joined

Halicampus crinitus (Jenyns, 1842)

Banded pipefish, Insular pipefish

Snout short, a well developed ridge that lacks spines all along center; other head ridges (sides of head, top of nape) well developed; ridge along operculum angles up and back; dorsal fin 17-32 rays, anal fin 2-4; pectoral fin rays 12-14; no pelvic fins; tail fin typically 10; upper body and tail ridges interrupted near rear of dorsal fin; lower trunk ridge ends near anus; side trunk ridge joins lower tail ridge; trunk rings 17-18, total rings 49-52; body rings with rounded ends, difficult to distinguish, with numerous small skin flaps; ridges of head, body and tail prominent; body ridges notched between body rings, edges finely toothed; body with scattered small, simple skin flaps; brood pouch under tail rings 10-17, pouch plates not very enlarged, pouch semi-open.

Two distinct color forms: crinitus form – varies from nearly white with a few scattered brown flecks and black dots at regular intervals along the body ridges, to nearly black below and pale above, to mottled brown with 10 or more diffuse irregular dark or white bars, to nearly uniform dark with white dots at regular intervals along body ridges; ensenadae formbold broad yellow to white and dark purplish-brown bars on head and body.

Reaches 15 cm.

Rock, coral and coarse sand habitats; also seagrass.

Depth range: 0.5-22 m.

Bermuda to  Brazil.

Note: The two color forms of this species occur throughout its range, and, in Brazil at least they intergrade. Crinitus, the oldest name, was described in 1842 from Brazil, and ensenadae in 1915 from the Caribbean. Whether the Brazilian and Caribbean populations represent different species has not been established.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Depth Range Max
  • 22
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Length Max
  • 15