The Syngnathiformes are a unique order of ray-finned fishes that are distributed globally in the world’s coastal tropical and temperate waters. By and large the group lives on shallow reefs and seagrass beds, and feeds on small crustaceans and other zooplankton. Syngnathiformes literally means “fused jaw”, and most species have small tubular mouths and elongated bodies. They are cryptic species and rely on camouflage for avoiding predation and ambushing prey.
The order includes the families Aulostomidae (the trumpetfishes), Centriscidae (shrimpfishes and razorfishes), Fistulariidae (the cornetfishes), Solenostomidae (ghost pipefishes), and of course the Syngnathidae (seahorses and pipefishes). In all, this adds up to over 300 species!
See our comprehensive list of Syngnathiformes.
The Gasterosteiformes are an order of fishes thought to be closely related to the Syngnathiformes. Ranging globally throughout the tropical and temperate oceans and rivers, this group consists of the Aulorhynchidae (the tubesnout), the Gasterosteidae (the sticklebacks), the Hypoptychidae (the sandeels), Indostomidae (armoured sticklebacks) and the Pegasidae (seamoths).
See our list of Gasterosteiformes.