Allen Walker also sent in a photograph of the narrowstripe pipefish, Doryrhamphus bicarinatus, taken at Aliwal Shoal. This is a range extension for the species. It was previously known along the African coast south to Sodwana Bay. The name bicarinatus means two ridges & comes from the 2 ridges or bumps under the snout of males. (NB: females lack the 2 bumps under the snout). The narrowstripe pipefish (D. bicarinatus) is more elongate with a longer snout (difficult to see with the foreshortening in the photo) than the form(s) of the bluestripe pipefish Doryrhamphus excisus found in the western Indian Ocean (WIO).  It also has a narrow blue stripe that gives it  its common name.

A bluestripe pipefish Doryrhamphus excisus. Photograph by Jack Randall from his book on the Fishes of Oman.

The narrowstripe pipefish Doryrhamphus bicarinatus photographed by Allen Walker at Aliwal Shoal.

The white-blotched rockcod, Epinephelus multinotatus, previously known from Shelley Beach and East London has been seen at Sodwana Bay. We now have our first photographic  record of this species from Rooneys Reef, Sodwana, where it was photographed by John Dench and Dennis Polack. This rockcod is a dark red- brown with a truncate tail and white blotches on its body and fins. This species has a wide distribution throughout the Indian Ocean. Juveniles are found on inshore coral reefs with adults more common in deeper water. See the photograph on the Fishwatch website:


Guido Zsilavecz caught the puffer above at the slipway at Miller's Point, False Bay. He said that it was swimming rather feebly so he decided to catch it and do fin counts to try and identify it. The vital statistics were: anal and dorsal fin-rays 9, pectoral rays 14. This, together with the description in Smiths' Sea Fishes made him correctly believe it was the rippled puffer,     Pelagocephalus marki.  The second image shows the reticulations along the back, the silver ventral surface and the dusky tail fin. Before Guido found this specimen the rippled puffer was only known from south of East London to Knysna.

When we were at Aliwal Shoal in May 2006 on our annual fish survey we collected a specimen of the rare tiny roughskin velvetfish Cocotropus monacanthus. Previously it was only known from 5 specimens, one from off Tanzania, the others from KZN. Aliwal Shoal is a range extension south from Durban.


The photograph (left) of a 25 mm SL roughskin velvetfish Cocotropus monacanthus from Aliwal Shoal was the first to show the russet colour of this species. Photograph by Drew Grant.

Two bumps on adult male


Single bump on adult  male excisus.