Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed marine
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Marine bioregional plan for the North Marine Region (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012x) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under section 248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of Marine Species (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000c) [Legislative Instrument].
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Least Concern (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Doryrhamphus janssi [66212]
Family Syngnathidae:Syngnathiformes:Actinopterygii:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Herald and Randall, 1972)
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Current name: Doryrhamphus janssi (Herald and Randall, 1972) (Cleaner Pipefish, Janss' Pipefish)

Herald and Randall described Dentirostrum janssi in 1972 from specimens collected at Koror I. (Palau Is) in 1957 (Herald & Randall 1972). It attains a standard length of 127 mm (Dawson 1981).

Doryrhamphus species are free-swimming benthic fishes found in various reef habitats in coastal to outer reefs, and usually stay close to small caves or narrow crevices into which they retreat when threatened (Gronell 1983; Kuiter 2000). This species occurs under overhangs, in often in association with sponges, in depths of 5-30 m (Kuiter 1992). It is secretive in rich coral growth and the back of ledges (Kuiter 1996) and occurs below large plate corals (Kuiter 2000). It often shares its caves with cleaner shrimps, forming part of working stations where various fishes seek treatment for removal of small parasites (Kuiter 1996). Most collections are from depths of 0-15 m, but there is one collection from depths of 24-35 m (Dawson 1981). Specimens in Aust. fish collections were collected in association with coral reefs, coral ledges, coral bomboras, steep slopes, live and dead corals, channels, caverns, caves, drop-offs, lagoons, rocks, rubble, sand and silt. The above specimens were collected in depths of 0-23 m using ichthyocides (Australian Fish Collection Records).

Most Doryrhamphinae pipefishes will breed readily in captivity when given enough shelter and can live for about five to ten years (Kuiter 2000).

Males may be brooding at 77 mm Standard Length (Dawson 1981). Male Doryrhamphus brood eggs semi-exposed under the trunk, and sometimes have a thin skin covering over the sides of the brood (Kuiter 2000). Herald & Randall (1972) noted that the 125 mm standard length male (the holotype) had 126 brood patch sockets, a few still with eggs, and another male of 111 mm standard length had 156 empty egg sockets. Additionally, two males, 91 and 105 mm from the Gulf of Thailand showed 106 and 195 empty sockets, respectively (Herald & Randall 1972). As tiny juveniles can be found on reefs, it seems that the pelagic stage is either short or absent (Kuiter 2000). Kuiter (2000) noted that it was difficult to determine the sex for most Doryrhamphinae species, especially when the male incubated a brood, but adults usually occur in pairs with one male and one female.

Pipefishes generally feed on small living crustaceans that drift by or reside in the coral branches or algal mats (Gronell 1983). Many Doryrhamphus species are known to be active cleaners, picking tiny parasitic crustaceans from other fishes, and adults work mostly in pairs (Gronell 1983; Kuiter 2000). This species is an active cleaner of Cheilodipterus cardinalfishes and Neopomacentrus damselfishes (Kuiter 1996). It usually swims upside-down (Kuiter 2000).

Marine bioregional plans have been developed for four of Australia's marine regions - South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East. Marine Bioregional Plans will help improve the way decisions are made under the EPBC Act, particularly in relation to the protection of marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of our oceans and their resources by our marine-based industries. Marine Bioregional Plans improve our understanding of Australia's oceans by presenting a consolidated picture of the biophysical characteristics and diversity of marine life. They describe the marine environment and conservation values of each marine region, set out broad biodiversity objectives, identify regional priorities and outline strategies and actions to address these priorities. Click here for more information about marine bioregional plans.

The cleaner pipefish has been identified as a conservation value in the North (DSEWPaC 2012x) Marine Region. The "species group report card - bony fishes" for the North (DSEWPaC 2012x) Marine Region provides additional information.

No threats data available.

Australian Fish Collection Records (undated). Collation of records from Australian Fish Collections.

Dawson, C.E. (1981). Review of the Indo-Pacific pipefish genus Doryrhamphus Kaup (Pisces: Syngnathidae), with descriptions of a new species and a new subspecies. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology. 44:Jan-27.

Dawson, C.E. (1985). Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas). Page(s) 230. Gulf Coast Research Lab., Mississippi, USA.

Gronell, A.M. (1983). Pipefishes - seahorses of a different sort. Tropical Fish Hobbyist. 31(11):26-32.

Herald, E.S. & J.E. Randall (1972). Five new Indo-Pacific pipefishes. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth Series. 39(11):121-140.

Kuiter, R.H. (1992). Tropical Reef-fishes of the Western Pacific Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Page(s) 314. Gramedia. Jarkata.

Kuiter, R.H. (1996). Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. Page(s) 434. New Holland, Frenchs Forest, NSW.

Kuiter, R.H. (2000). Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. Page(s) 240. TMC Publishing, UK.

Murdy, E.O., C.J. Ferraris, Jr., D.F. Hoese & R.C. Steene (1981). Preliminary list of fishes from Sombrero Island, Philippines, with fifteen new records. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 94(4):1163-1173.

Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley (1989). Pisces. In: Walton, D.W., ed. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. 7. Canberra: AGPS.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Doryrhamphus janssi in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:53:18 +1000.