Vanacampus vercoi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Vanacampus vercoi (Waite & Hale, 1921)
Common Name(s):
English Verco's Pipefish, Flinder’s pipefish, Little pipefish
Corythoichthys flindersi Scott, 1957
Syngnathus vercoi Waite & Hale, 1921
Taxonomic Source(s): Dawson, C.E. 1985. Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas). The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-21
Assessor(s): Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G.
Contributor(s): Bartnick, S., Carpenter, K.E., Nelson, J., Matsuura, K., Czembor, C.A., Fritzsche, R., Collette, B.B., Dooley, J. & Morgan, S.K.

Vanacampus vercoi is a marine pipefish species that is endemic to South Australia and inhabits seagrasses and macroalgae. It is threatened by coastal habitat degradation and loss, especially seagrass. Seagrasses within the species' range have undergone extensive historical declines, but these declines happened over a long timeframe (more than 3 generation lengths or 10 years) and some restoration is underway and has been successful.  The species is protected throughout its range. There are no other substantial threats. Therefore Vanacampus vercoi is assessed as Least Concern. 

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Vanacampus vercoi is endemic to South Australia and occurs from Spencer Gulf through to Encounter Bay, (Baker et al. 2008, Pogonoski et al. 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (South Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:7500Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:50000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Lower depth limit (metres):4
Upper depth limit (metres):2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


To date there have been no dedicated surveys or population estimates for Vanacampus vercoi. Further research is needed in order to determine population size and trends in abundance for this species. It is suspected that the species has undergone declines in the past as a result of seagrass degradation and loss, but these likely occurred over much longer timeframes than three generation lengths for this species and restoration is ongoing (Seddon et al. 2000, Westphalen et al. 2005, Tanner et al. 2014).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:YesPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Vanacampus vercoi is found in marine vegetation such as macroalgae and seagrass, and may also be found in tidepools (Baker et al. 2008). They are restricted to depths of 2–4 m (Baker et al. 2008, Pogonoski, Pollard and Paxton 2002). Little is known about their feeding, but they likely consume small benthic and/or planktonic crustaceans such as gammarid amphipods and calanoid, harpacticoid, and cyclopoid copepods (Kendrick and Hyndes 2005).

As is the case with other syngnathids, they are ovoviviparous and the males carry the embryos in a brood pouch under their tail prior to giving live birth (Dawson 1985).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Vanacampus vercoi is not known for any commercial trade. Pipefishes in general are traded in Australia for use in aquariums, traditional medicines, and as curios, but likely at low levels (Martin-Smith and Vincent 2006). This species may be involved but offtake is not likely to have a large impact on wild populations.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Vanacampus vercoi is threatened by coastal habitat degradation and loss. The Spencer Gulf and Gulf of St. Vincent have both undergone historical declines in seagrass habitat due to development, pollution, and the effects of climate change (Seddon et al. 2000, Westphalen et al. 2005, Tanner et al. 2014), although these declines occurred over greater than 50 years - far greater than three generation lengths for this species.  Seagrass rehabilitation projects have also shown early success (Tanner et al. 2014).

The species may also be caught as bycatch in trawl fisheries and/or targeted for medicine and the aquarium trade. Levels of offtake are thought to be low (Martin-Smith and Vincent 2006). 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Vanacampus vercoi. It is not known from any marine protected areas off South Australia. Along with all synganthids in Australia, the species is protected throughout its range by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). It is not mentioned in any international legislation or trade regulations.

Citation: Pollom, R. 2017. Vanacampus vercoi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T155285A67619445. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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