Family: SYNGNATHIDAE, Pipefishes, Seahorses
A very small/absent
The pipefishes, and their relatives the seahorses, which reach 30 cm, are characterized by a long, slender body, sometimes extremely elongated, that is encased in an armor of ring-like, bony segments; mouth small, without teeth, at the end of a long tubular snout; a very small gill opening that is restricted to the top corner of the operculum; no spines in the fins; a single, often long-based, dorsal fin; if present anal fin is very small (dorsal, anal, and/or pectoral fins absent in a few species); no pelvic fins; tail prehensile in some genera.
Worldwide the family contains about 279 species of pipefishes belonging to more than 53 genera and approximately 30 species of seahorses in the single genus Hippocampus. In our region there are 25 species of pipefishes in 10 genera, and 3 species of seahorses.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER FRISTCHE (2002)