Seahorse Frequently Asked Questions / What is a pipefish?

A pipefish is a long, slender relative of a seahorse. It has a head that looks similar to a seahorse, but it’s body is a straight line and it swims horizontally. They have very long bodies and look similar to snakes or worms.

There are thought to be between 200 and 300 species of pipefish. We aren’t exactly sure because pipefish generate less interest than their seahorse cousins. Because of the lack of interest, there is quite a bit of discrepancy in the accepted number of species, and likely many either undescribed or the same species described as different species.

Pipefish occupy most of the oceans around the world, and can be found in freshwater, marine and brackish environments, though most are freshwater.

In the wild, another type of fish, the halfbeaks, are frequently mistaken for pipefish. Well known halfbeak species include the Ballyhoo. Ballyhoo often swim out in the open water near the surface, while most pipefish prefer to swim near various surfaces.

Many Banded Pipefish - Doryrhamphus multiannulatus

Many Banded Pipefish – Doryrhamphus multiannulatus Photo by Elias Levy

Posted in: Pipefish Facts