Pipefishes & ghost pipefishes

Sbiaculeatus_WikimediaThe pipefishes and ghost pipefishes are among the closest relatives to seahorses and seadragons. Similar to those groups, these fishes have elongated snouts for capturing small prey and are extremely well-camouflaged.

The elongated body of pipefishes is thought to be an ancestral trait, with seahorses having evolved their upright position after branching off from their common pipefish-like ancestors. The horizontally-swimming pipefishes are the most diverse of the Syngnathids, with over 50 genera and 225 species.  They are present globally everywhere but the poles, with populations ranging from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and New Zealand to Norway.

The ghost pipefishes are named as such because they are so showy and bizarre as to be almost ghost-like.  The five species that make up the genus Solenostomus  are elaborately decorated for camouflage from predators. Unlike their pipefish brethren, the female ghost pipefish uses elongated fins to brood young until they are ready to hatch.

Learn more about these interesting species by checking out the profiles below.

NOTE: This list is a work in progress and will be expanded and updated in the coming months.

Syngnathidae (Pipefishes)

Photo Name (Authority) Common
IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
91566_orig Syngnathus macrobrachium
Fristzsche 1980
DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Eastern
h-waleananus S. macrophthalmus
Duncker 1915
DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Red Sea
h-waleananus S. makaxi
Herald &
Dawson 1972
Yucatan pipefish DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Tropical
Sypel_u2 S. pelagicus
Linneaus 1758
Sargassum pipefish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Western Atlantic
Syphl_u1 S. phlegon
Risso 1827
Pelagic pipefish DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Mediterranean
10499_orig S. rostellatus
Nilsson 1855
Nilsson’s pipefish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl NE Atlantic
h-waleananus S. safina
Paulus 1992
DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Gulf of Aqaba

IUCN Red List key: 

EX=Extinct EW=Extinct in the Wild CR=Critically Endangered EN=Endangered VU=Vulnerable NT=Near Threatened LC=Least Concern DD=Data Deficient NE=Not Evaluated

(Click here for a full explanation of IUCN Red List categories.)

A note on ‘Data Deficient’ species: Species that are assessed as ‘Data Deficient’ are deemed to have insufficient information known about them to carry out a proper conservation assessment. Although such species are not assessed as threatened, we may find out that they in fact are, once enough data is obtained.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s