Synchiropus splendidus

Super Group: 
Herre 1927
Callionymus splendidus (Herre, 1927)
Neosynchiropus splendidus (Herre, 1927)
Pterosynchiropus splendidus (Herre, 1927)


Diagnosis_Genus: Synchiropus Gill. Aperturae branchiales parvae, lineares, fere perpendiculares, post opercula. Pinnae ventrales radiis spinoso et quinque ramosis membrana conjunctis. The genus thus characterized embraces five know species, which are all inhabitants of the Eastern seas (S. lateralis, S. lineolatus, S. occelatus, S. opercularis and S. opercularoides).

Diagnosis_Species: Callionymus splendidus Herre. Dorsal IV, 8; anal I, 7; pectoral 30; caudal 10. Body stout, robust, wedge-shaped when viewed from above, the depth a trifle more than 4 times in the length, head very broad, its length 3 times in total length, its breadth four-fifths of its own length; the large eye equals the length of the narrow pointed snout and the width of the somewhat concave interorbital space; the stout preopercular spine contained 3 times in head; it terminates in three strong spines, the terminal one slenderer and atraighler than the two anterior to it; the lower edge of spine smooth; the small circular gill opening is below and a little posterior to origin of lateral line. The filamentous first dorsal spine reaches to base of last dorsal ray when depressed, and is contained 2.25 times in the total length; the other spines short, barely reaching origin of second dorsal when depressed, the second spine 11 times in head, the third spine almost as long, the fourth much shorter; second dorsal low, the rays of the posterior half more elevated than the anterior rays, except the last one which is low, reaching base of caudal when depressed, slightly greater than the depth, 3.75 times in the length, 1.25 times in the head; the two anterior and last anal rays shortest, the others of nearly equal length, equal to second dorsal in height and extending beyond base of caudal when depressed; the depth of the caudal peduncle is 5.625 times in the total length, its own length 7/8 of its depth; caudal subtruncate, the lower rays longest, a little longer than head; the very broad pectoral equals the depth and is ? of the length of the head; the ventrals are somewhat pointed and extend back beyond origin of anal, but are shorter than the pectorals. In life this bizarre little fish is most gorgeously and brilliantly colored. The ground color of the body is reddish brown, the head, trunk, and soft dorsal are covered with broad irregular bands of intensely brilliant green, the transverse bands on top of the head and between the eyes margined with black; a large deep indigo blue circular spot on belly between pectorals; a blue area on side of head between the eye, preopercular spine, and ventral sprinkled with brilliantly shining golden spots; top of head and throat pale yellowish; a large green ocellus, margined by a broad blue band on the spinous dorsal between second and fourth spines, the fin above this blue-black; the ground color of second dorsal dusky to blackish; the caudal has a broad terminal band of green, the rays are green, the membranes pale or yellowish with longitudinal spots and lines of deep blue; the anal and ventrals dusky with irregular bands of deep blue; pectoral green with a broad basal crossbar of deep blue, eye blue, with a golden ring about the pupil. In alcohol the green fades to blue or disappears; golden lines crossing the throat and breast from side to side, and not mentioned above, are changed to pinkish violet. Here described from the type and only specimen, 45 millimeters long, collected by me on a coral reef at Bungau, in about 2 fathoms of water. A Samal datu, the headman of the village, when this extraordinary and fantastically marked little creature was placed in his hand, said; “I never saw anything like that be fore.’* It excited greater interest than I ever saw those keeneyed observers, the Samals, display in a fish. Splendidus, glittering, brilliant.

Body_max_length: 7.0 cm
Body_egg_lenght: 0.8 mm
Body_larvae_lenght: 1.56 mm


Synchiropus: Greek, syn, symphysis = grown together + Greek, cheir = hand + Greek, pous = foot

Type species

The type species of the genus Synchiropus is Callionymus lateralis (Richardson, 1844).

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type locality: Bungau, Philippines, depth 2 fathoms.


Habitat: Ocean.
Habitat: Western Pacific: Ryukyu Islands to Australia.During spawning they are pelagic and are seen in the open ocean. Mandarin fish are found on coral reefs and shallow lagoons hidden under foliose and dead coral (Randall et al. 1990). It is difficult to maintain mandarin fish in captivity because of their dietary requirements.
Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
pH: 7.5-8.5
Temperature: 24-26 °C
Temperature_spawning (26°C)
Depth: Epipelagic (1 to 18 m)
Oxygen_level: Oxic
Migratory: No

Life cycle

Longevity: more than 3 years
Reproduction_mode: sexual
Fecundity: spawning occurs on areas of the reef where small groups of males and females gather during the night. Mating occurs when the male and the female release sperm and eggs after they align themselves and rise about a meter above the reef. Each female spawns only once each night and may go without spawning for a few days. Since there are few active females, there is much competition amoung the males. The larger and stronger males tend to mate more frequently because there seems to be a sexual preference by the females for larger males.

Spawning_method: External fertilization in the water column. External fertilization occurs when a male and female are in close contact and swimming upward.
Fecundity_number_of_eggs: 200 eggs. Spawning occurs at about weekly intervals where up to 200 eggs are released. This occurs for several months.
Fertility_period: Annual. Mandarin fish breed year round. The population doubling time is less than 15 months.
Pairs ascend in close contact towards the surface where eggs and sperm are released (aquarium observation).

Egg and larval development of S. splendidus is similar to that described for other callionymids. Eggs measure 0.8 mm in diameter and hatch after 13-16 hours at 26[degrees]C. Newly hatched larvae measure 1.56 [+ or -].04 mm NL and begin feeding four days post-hatching (DPH) at 1.74 [+ or -].06mm NL. The notochord accounts for 20% of the body length at 12 DPH. Larvae lack heavy ventral pigmentation, but have three distinctive lines of pigment on the posterior portion of the body - one along the base of the dorsal fin, one along the base of the anal fin, and one along mid-body. Larvae exhibit an ontogenetic color change from yellow to orange prior to settlement. Incidence of settlement was highest between 16-20 DPH. Ontogeny, including osteological development, is described from hatching to the juvenile stage.
Sexual_dimorphism: male larger

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming


On the genus Callionymus of authors

Gill T (1859) On the genus Callionymus of authors. In: Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia . Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia,

Observation site(s)