Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Cosmocampus arctus, Snubnose pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout short
skin flaps near eye, on body
white stripe behind eye; white saddles on back
D 18-20
side body ridge straight, ends over anus
lower body & tail ridges joined
longitudinal ridge on operculum
A: 2-4
C: small



Cosmocampus arctus (Jenkins & Evermann, 1889)

Snubnose pipefish

Snout with low ridge along center,  short (length 2.3-4.0 in head length); operculum with longitudinal ridge angled up towards gill opening; upper trunk and tail ridges not joined; ridge on flank of body straight, ends near anus; lower trunk and tail ridges joined; main body ridges sometimes with spines at end of rings; usually with skin flaps; trunk rings 14-18; tail rings 36-41; skin flaps frequently present around eye and elsewhere on body; dorsal 18-20 rays; anal 2-4 rays; pectoral rays 10-12 (usually 11); brood pouch under tail, with folds; tail 10 rays.

Reddish to dark grey with narrow whitish bars and/or pale saddles on back; usually a whitish stripe on head behind eye.

Size: attains 13 cm.

Inhabits rock or coral reefs; often found among red algae.

From shallow depths to at least 20 m.

Southern California and through the Gulf of California to Chile, including the Galapagos and Cocos Islands.

Note: There are three subspecies: C. arctus arctus from California to Mazatlan, Mexico, C. arctus coccineus from Central Mexico to Peru, including the Galapagos, and C. arctus heraldi from San Felix Island in the Juan Fernandez Islands, Chile.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • No Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Brooded
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 13
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20