PISCES : SYNGNATHIFORMES : SyngnathidaeBONY FISH

Syngnathus acus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Greater Pipefish


Syngnathus acus

Description: Pipefish belong to the same family of fish as the sea-horses (Syngnathidae). They have long, slender bodies encased in an armour of segmented plates. The main body of the greater pipefish is polygonal in cross-section whilst the tail end is four-sided, giving the body an angular appearance. It has a relatively long snout with a small mouth at the tip. There is a distinctive hump on top of the head behind the eyes. It is usually pale brown to greenish-brown in colour with darker bands along the body. Adult fish can grow to a maximum length of 47cm.

Habitat: Pipefish are usually found in muddy or sandy areas living amongst seaweed or sea-grass at depths down to 20m. They feed on small planktonic organisms.

Distribution: This species is widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Similar Species: The greater pipefish most closely resembles Nilsson's pipefish (Syngnathus rostellatus) however the latter does not have a conspicuous hump behind the eyes and has a much shorter snout. The deep-snouted pipefish (Syngnathus typhle) is also similar but it too lacks a hump behind the eyes and has a much deeper snout.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.



 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG3760

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