Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Syngnathus caribbaeus, Caribbean pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout long, slender
pattern 1: pale bars above, pale spots below.
pattern 2: irregular lines above, blue bars below
D 25-32
trunk rings 15-18
short opercular ridge

Syngnathus caribbaeus Dawson, 1979

Caribbean pipefish

Snout long, slender, sloping downwards; moderate vertical bone in front of eye; ridge along side of operculum low, on front 1/3 only in adult, no ridge along side of snout; ridge along top of snout and head low; dorsal fin 25-32, fin low, its origin on trunk, well before anus; anal fin 2-4, fin short, seldom reaches beyond 2nd tail ring; pectoral fin 12-15; no pelvic fins; tail fin 10; ridge along side of body ends at level near anus; upper ridge of body discontinuous with that of tail just behind dorsal fin; ridges along bottom of body and tail joined; main body ridges low, except those on back elevated so back is concave in between them; trunk rings 15-18; tail rings 31-35; no skin flaps; brood pouch under tail, its plates folded inwards.

Color variable: pattern 1: brown, with 8-9 diffuse pale bars each ~1 ring wide on upper body, scattered pale spots on lower half of body; pattern 2: green-brown with irregular brown streaks or lines on upper head and body, lower body with thin blue-white bars on each ring that gradually change to blotches on tail, dorsal fin with 10-12 brownish bars.

Reaches 30 cm.

Coastal and estuarine; muddy to weedy bottoms.

Depth: 0-5 m.

Cuba to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Estuary
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • All species..
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5