Tube-Snouts, Snipefishes & Bellowfishes


The only member of the family Aulorhynchidae, the tubesnout (Aulorhynchus flavidus) can very easily be mistaken for a pipefish. It’s elongated body and snout make for a striking resemblance. The species swims in schools and lives in northeastern Pacific waters off the coasts of North America.

The snipefish family, Macrorhamphosidae, originally consisted of two species. More recent genetic studies have revealed that in fact one of the species is actually the juvenile form of the one true species, Macrorhamphosus scolopax. These tall but slender fish have elongated snouts that allow them to feed off of crustaceans.

The closely related Centriscidae (some authors treat the Macrorhamphosidae as part of the Centriscidae) also have flattened bodies. They often orient vertically in the water column, mimicking coral or seagrasses, for camouflage from predators and prey alike. The Centriscidae are present around the world in tropical and subtropical waters.

Aulorhynchidae (Tube-snout)

Photo Scientific Name Common Name IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
flavidus_CCBY-NC_DRossRobertson Aulorhynchus flavidus
Gill, 1861
Tube-snout LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl  NE Pacific

Macrorhamphosidae (Snipefishes)

Photo Scientific Name Common Name IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
Macroramphosus scolopax
(Linneaus, 1758)
Longspine snipefish  LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Atlantic, Indo-Pacific


Photo Scientific Name Common Name(s) IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
Aeoliscus punctulatus
(Bianconi, 1854)
speckled shrimpfish
 DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Western Indian Ocean
A. strigatus
(Günther, 1861)
Razorfish  DD logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
Centriscops humerosus
(Richardson, 1846)
Banded bellowsfish,
banded snipefish
 LC logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Circumglobal in s. temperate oceans
workimagethumb Centriscus cristatus
(De Vis, 1885)
Smooth razorfish  DD logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Indo-Pacific
C. scutatus
Linnaeus, 1758
Grooved razorfish, grooved shrimpfish, rigid shrimpfish, serrate razorfish,  LC  logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Central & Eastern
Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific
Notopogon armatus
(Sauvage, 1879)
 LC logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Western Indian Ocean
N. fernandezianus
(Delfin, 1899)
Orange bellowfish  LC logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Southeastern Pacific, south-western Atlantic
N. lilliei
Regan, 1914
Crested bellowfish,
bristle snipefish
 LC logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Australia & New Zealand, southwestern Indian Ocean, southeastern Atlantic
N. macrosolen
Barnard, 1925
Longspine bellowsfish, longsnout bellowfish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Southeastern Atlantic
N. xenosoma
Regan, 1914
Longspine bellowsfish,
orange bellowsfish
 LC logo_wiki logo_eolGBIFurl Southern Indian Ocean, Australia & New Zealand


EX = Extinct 
EW = Extinct in the Wild 
CR = Critically Endangered 
EN = Endangered 
VU = Vulnerable 
NT = Near Threatened 
LC = Least Concern 
DD = Data Deficient 
NE = Not Evaluated

(Click here for a full explanation of IUCN Red List categories.)

A note on ‘Data Deficient’ species: Species that are assessed as ‘Data Deficient’ are deemed to have insufficient information known about them to carry out a proper conservation assessment. Although such species are not assessed as threatened, we may find out that they in fact are, once enough data is obtained.

Banner image of leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) by Gaetano Gargiulo/Guylian Seahorses of the World