Thin body with large fins, fins and snout are covered in skin filaments with jagged edges. Color can be variable from red to yellow, to black. Males are slender, females are more bulky and have larger ventral fins, where the pouch is. Juveniles tend to be more translucent and have a larger tail fin in comparison.
Unassessed by the IUCN Red list. Uncommon species, known from Indo-West Pacific.
Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Fiji, north to Japan, south to Australia and New Caledonia. Adults usually settle along reef edges in places with current. They live solitary or in pairs, hanging face down among branches of gorgonians, floating weeds, or crinoids, in a depth range of 4-35 meters.
All ghost pipefishes are born as males, but after social cues, some change into females. The ventral fins then grow towards each other and develop, creating a pouch for the male to carry the eggs. New born ghost pipefishes spend the majority of their life as planktonic larvae, before settling to the bottom and developing into their adult form.
Up to 11cm.
They feed on small mysid shrimp.
The ornate ghost pipefishes is also referred to as the Harlequin ghost pipefish, due to its bright color scheme.