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Species: Cosmocampus elucens, Shortfin pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout long & slender, ridges - top and side
body slender
body: wide-spaced narrow pale bars
D 22-23
A 2-4
tail rings 29-34

Cosmocampus elucens (Poey, 1868)

Shortfin pipefish

Body slender and elongate; snout with ridge along side, long (~40-59% of head length) and slender, depth 16 (10-26)% of its length), ridge along top very low; operculum with longitudinal ridge angled up towards gill opening; dorsal 22-23 rays; anal 2-4 rays; pectoral 11-15 rays; no pelvic fins; tail 10 rays; upper trunk and tail ridges not joined; ridge on flank of body straight, ends near anus; lower trunk and tail ridges joined; main body ridges sometimes with spines at end of rings; usually with skin flaps;  trunk rings 16-18; 0-1.5 trunk rings under dorsal fin; tail rings 29-34; brood pouch under tail rings 12-20, with folds.

Tan to greenish brown; upper body and sides usually mottled, with widely spaced narrow pale bars; 2 dark stripes behind eye.

Reaches 17 cm.

Usually in seagrass beds, but also coral reefs and estuaries.

Depth range: 1-78 m.

New Jersey to Guyana    

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Estuary
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species..
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 17
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 78