Syngnathidae is a family of fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 which includes the seahorse
Seahorses compose the fish genus Hippocampus within the family Syngnathidae, in order Syngnathiformes. Syngnathidae also includes the pipefishes. "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning “sea monster”.There are nearly 50 species of seahorse...

s, the pipefish
Pipefishes or pipe-fishes are a subfamily of small fishes, which, together with the seahorses, form the family Syngnathidae.-Anatomy:...

es, and the weedy and leafy sea dragon
Leafy sea dragon
The leafy seadragon or Glauert's seadragon, Phycodurus eques, is a marine fish in the family Syngnathidae, which also includes the seahorses. It is the only member of the genus Phycodurus. It is found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. The name is derived from the appearance, with...

s. The name is derived from Greek, meaning "fused jaw" - syn meaning fused or together, and gnathus meaning jaws. This fused jaw trait is something the entire family has in common.

Description and biology

Syngnathids are found in temperate and tropical seas across the world. Most species inhabit shallow, coastal waters, but a few are known from the open ocean, especially in association with sargassum
Sargassum is a genus of brown macroalga in the order Fucales. Numerous species are distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, where they generally inhabit shallow water and coral reefs. However, the genus may be best known for its planktonic species...

 mats. They are characterised by their elongated snouts, fused jaws, the absence of pelvic fins, and by thick plates of bony armour covering the body. The armour gives them a rigid body, so that they can swim by rapidly fanning their fins. As a result, they are relatively slow compared with other fishes, but are able to control their movements with great precision, including hovering in place for extended periods.

Uniquely, after syngnathid females lay their eggs
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

, the male then fertilizes and then carries the eggs
Male pregnancy
Male pregnancy refers to the incubation of one or more embryos or fetuses by male members of any species. In nearly all heterogamous animal species, offspring are ordinarily carried by the female until birth, but in fish of the Syngnathidae family , males perform this function...

 during incubation. There are several methods for this. Male seahorses have a specialized ventral pouch to carry the eggs, male sea dragons attach the eggs to their tails, and male pipefish may do either, depending on their species.


  • Subfamily Hippocampinae
    Hippocampinae is a subfamily of small marine fishes, which with the pipefish form the family Syngnathidae. It includes nearly fifty species of true seahorses plus the two species of crested pipefish...

    • Genus Hippocampus (seahorses)
    • Genus Histiogamphelus
      Histiogamphelus is a small genus of fish with only two species.The genus Histiogamphelus belongs to the family Syngnathidae and its species are commonly called crested pipefish. This genus is similar in appearance to pipefish, but it is more closely related to seahorses. Histiogamphelus also has a...

  • Subfamily Syngnathinae (pipefishes)
    • Genus Acentronura Kaup, 1953
    • Genus Anarchopterus Hubbs, 1935
    • Genus Apterygocampus Weber, 1993
    • Genus Bhanotia Hora, 1926
    • Genus Bryx Herald, 1940
    • Genus Bulbonaricus Herald in Schultz, Herald, Lachner, Welander and Woods, 1953
    • Genus Campichthys Whitley, 1931
    • Genus Choeroichthys Kaup, 1856
    • Genus Corythoichthys
      Corythoichthys is a genus of pipefishes of the family Syngnathidae.- Species :* Brown-banded pipefish, Corythoichthys amplexus Dawson & Randall, 1975* Corythoichthys benedetto Allen & Erdmann, 2008...

      Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Cosmocampus Dawson, 1979
    • Genus Doryichthys Kaup, 1953
    • Genus Doryrhamphus
      Doryrhamphus and Dunckerocampus, popularly known as flagtail pipefish, are two genera of fishes in the Syngnathidae family. They are found in warm, relatively shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, with a single species, D. paulus, in the eastern Pacific...

      Kaup, 1856
    • Genus Dunckerocampus Whitley, 1933
    • Genus Enneacampus Dawson, 1981
    • Genus Entelurus Duméril, 1870
    • Genus Festucalex Whitley, 1991
    • Genus Filicampus Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Halicampus Kaup, 1856
    • Genus Haliichthys Gray, 1859
    • Genus Heraldia Paxton, 1975
    • Genus Hippichthys Bleeker, 1849 -- river pipefishes
    • Genus Hypselognathus Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Ichthyocampus Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Kaupus Whitley, 1971
    • Genus Kimblaeus Dawson, 1980
    • Genus Kyonemichthys Gomon, 2007
    • Genus Leptoichthys Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Leptonotus
      Leptonotus is a genus of pipefishes of the family Syngnathidae.- Species :* Genus Leptonotus** Deep-bodied pipefish, Leptonotus blainvilleanus ** Pipefish, Leptonotus elevatus...

      Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Lissocampus Waite and Hale, 1921
    • Genus Maroubra Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Micrognathus Duncker, 1912
    • Genus Microphis
      Microphis is a genus of fish in the Syngnathidae family.It contains the following species:* Microphis argulus* slender pipefish * spinach pipefish...

      Kaup, 1853 -- freshwater pipefishes
    • Genus Minyichthys Herald and Randall, 1972
    • Genus Mitotichthys Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Nannocampus Günther, 1877
    • Genus Nerophis
      Nerophis is a genus of pipefishes. Consists of three species:* Nerophis lumbriciformis - Worm pipefish* Nerophis maculatus Rafinesque, 1810 - Spotted pipefish* Nerophis ophidion - Straightnose pipefish...

      Rafinesque, 1810
    • Genus Notiocampus Dawson, 1979
    • Genus Penetopteryx Lunel, 1881
    • Genus Phoxocampus Dawson, 1977
    • Genus Phycodurus Günther, 1865 -- leafy seadragon
    • Genus Phyllopteryx Swainson, 1839 -- weedy seadragon
    • Genus Pseudophallus Herald, 1940 -- fluvial pipefishes
    • Genus Pugnaso Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Siokunichthys Herald in Schultz, Herald, Lachner, Welander and Woods, 1953
    • Genus Solegnathus
      Solegnathus is a genus of pipefish belonging to the family Syngnathidae. They are found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide.- Species :* Solegnathus dunckeri Whitley, 1927* Hardwicke's pipefish, Solegnathus hardwickii...

      Swainson, 1839
    • Genus Stigmatopora
      Stigmatopora is a genus of pipefish of the family Syngnathidae. It has four described species.-Species in the genus Stigmatopora:* Spotted pipefish, Stigmatopora argus...

      Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Stipecampus Whitley, 1948
    • Genus Syngnathoides
      Syngnathoides is a genus of fish in the Syngnathidae family.It contains the following species:* alligator pipefish...

      Bleeker, 1851
    • Genus Syngnathus Linnaeus, 1758 -- seaweed pipefishes
    • Genus Trachyrhamphus Kaup, 1853
    • Genus Urocampus Günther, 1870
    • Genus Vanacampus Whitley, 1951

External links

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