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Species: Syngnathus fuscus, Northern pipefish

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snout medium
color variable
D 33-39
trunk rings 18-21
no opercular ridge

Syngnathus fuscus Storer, 1839

Northern pipefish

Head short; snout moderately long, and moderately slender; narrow bar of bone in front of eye; no ridge above operculum, or along side of snout;  ridges along top of snout and  head low; opercular ridge inconspicuous, only on front 1/3 of opercle in adults; body and front part of tail slender; dorsal fin 33-39, fin origin on trunk, well before anus; anal fin 2-4; pectoral fin 12-15; no pelvic fins; tail fin 10; main body ridges without indentations at ring edges; ridge along side of body ends under dorsal fin, not joining that along side of tail; upper ridge of body discontinuous with that of tail just behind dorsal fin; ridges along bottom of body and tail joined; trunk rings 18-21; tail rings 34-39; no skin flaps; brood pouch under tail, its plates folded inwards.

Variable color: greenish, olive, brown, red-brown on upper parts; belly pale to yellow; trunk and tail mottled or with ~12-13 brown bars, sometimes with pale bars on lower sides of each trunk ring; dorsal fin pale or with diagonal bars; tail fin brown.

Reaches 33 cm.

Sandy bottoms and seagrass beds, estuarine habitats; enters freshwater.

Depth: 5-366 m.

Prince Edward Island (Canada) to southern Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Continent only
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Extends North of GC
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 33
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 366