Family Syngnathidae



Selected Characters: Body elongate, encased in bony rings; one dorsal fin; long snout with tiny terminal mouth.

This is a family of elongate fishes whose bodies are encased in a series of bony rings. Most occur in marine or brackish water, but some pipefishes live in freshwater. The mating system of a typical syngnathid species is unusual: the male first performs a complex dancelike ritual, then the female deposits her eggs in a brood pouch on the male's abdomen, where he carries them until they hatch. This family includes the seahorses (subfamily Hippocampinae) as well as the pipefishes (subfamily Syngnathinae). There are about 215 species recognized in this family, only one of which resides in Puget Sound. The Bay Pipefish grows to 33 cm long and can often be found in eelgrass beds. This species is common in Puget Sound.

Puget Sound Species

Syngnathus leptorhynchus Bay Pipefish