The harlequin or ornate ghost pipefish is easily the most elaborate and beautiful of all ghost pipefish. As its secondary name suggests, the ornate ghost pipefish is highly decorated and are generally larger than other ghost pipefish. They can often be found in a head down position as they slowly drift and swim in the currents.
The ornate ghost pipefish is definitely one of the most sought after sightings for divers and underwater photographers alike.
Ornate Ghost Pipefish Introduction Video
The Ornate Ghostpipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) is a very delicate ghostpipefish species belonging to the Solenostomidae family. The Solenostomidae family is very closely related to the syngnathidae family that includes seahorses, pipefish, pipehorses and seadragons. The Ornate Ghostpipefish is also commonly referred to as the ‘Harlequin’ Ghostpipefish.
Solenostomus paradoxus is the most commonly observed species in this genus and can be found through out the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea and all of the Indian Ocean across to the central Pacific. It is also found occasionally in temperate waters such as Sydney Harbour in Australia. They are generally found on coastal reefs or in estuaries amongst rubble and they are often found in pairs or small groups. They prefer sheltered waters and are often are found in areas that are susceptible to current.
When they are found in tropical waters they are often found hiding amongst the fronds of crinoids (featherstars) or amongst the branches of coral trees and gorgonian fans. They are known to feed mostly on tiny mysids and occasionally other small benthic shrimps which they snap up out of open water or off the bottom. The Ornate Ghostpipefish varies in colour from black to red and yellow with different colour markings along the body. They are known to grow to a maximum length of approximately 11cm.