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Species: Microphis lineatus, Opossum pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout v long, slender, with dark stripe
D 37-54
C 9
operculum: several ridges
lower body & tail ridges NOT joined
A 4
brood pouch under body

Microphis lineatus (Kaup, 1856)

Opossum pipefish

Head long (15-22% of SL), without spines; snout very long (50-67% of head length), slender (~ 11% of snout length), straight; mouth strongly oblique, rising above tip of snout; well developed horizontal ridge across center of operculum, with several oblique ridges below it; dorsal fin long based, 37-54 rays, origin on trunk; pectoral broad base, short fin, central rays shorter than outer rays, 17-23 rays; anal fin tiny, 4 rays; no pelvic fins; tail fin small, 9 rays; ridges along upper side of body and of tail not joined; ridge on midside of body joins ridge on lower side of tail; lower body ridge ends at level of anus, ridges spiny in juveniles, +/- small spines in adults; trunk rings 17-21, tail with 20-26 rings; oval plates between body rings without longitudinal keels; brood pouch under trunk, with vertical plates that are not folded.

Brownish grey; a dark stripe along snout, through eye, across operculum and along upper back to dorsal fin; dorsal fin with brown vertical streaks between rays; tail fin blackish.

Size: 19.5 cm.

Habitat: estuaries and freshwater.

Depth: shallow 0-10 m.

West Atlantic; Northern US to southern Brazil; has passed through the Panama Canal to the tropical eastern Pacific, where it occurs in Panama and Costa Rica.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Extends North of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Also in Brazil
  • All species..
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10
Length Max
  • 19.5