Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Microphis lineatus, Opossum pipefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout very long, slender
dark stripe through head
D long base, 37-54
operculum: longitudinal ridge + several oblique ridges
A: tiny, 4
C: 9, small, black

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.

A West Atlantic species that has passed through the Panama Canal to Panama Bay and spread westward to Costa Rica.

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  • Non Marine
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Estuary
  • Submerged vegetation
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Planktivore
  • No Data
  • Zooplankton
  • No Data
  • Pelagic fish eggs
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
Regional Endemism
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Continent only
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 19.5
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10