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Species: Syngnathus pelagicus, Sargassum Pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout long & slender
female: pale bars under trunk & tail
D 25-34
trunk rings: 15-18
no opercular ridge

Syngnathus pelagicus Linnaeus, 1758

Sargassum Pipefish

Snout long [56 (42-63)% of head length] and slender (depth 9-29% of length); a 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, only on front 1/3 of opercle in adults; body and front part of tail long and slender; dorsal fin 25-34, fin origin on trunk, well before anus; anal fin 2-4; pectoral fin 12-16; no pelvic fins; tail fin 10; main body ridges low, edges granular or finely toothed, barely indented at ring margins; 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 15-18; tail rings 30-34; no skin flaps; brood pouch under tail, its plates folded inwards.

Upper half pale tan, lower half whitish; males and subadult females with upper back of body crossed by 11-13 brown bars, each 1-3 rings wide; female with a pale to silvery, dark-edged bar on lower half of each trunk ring and wider pale bars on most tail rings, every 3rd-4th bar crossing top of back; usually a brown stripe along side of snout; dorsal fin with 7-9 brown bars; pectorals clear, tail brown.

Reaches 21 cm.

Floating Sargassum in the open sea, rarely inshore.

Depth: 0-73 m.

Nova Scotia to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Flotsam
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 73