Category:Seahorses and Pipefish

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Seahorses, Sea Dragons and Pipefish belong to the family Syngnathidae. The name is derived from Greek, meaning "fused jaw" - meaning fused or together, and gnathus meaning jaws. This fused jaw trait is something the entire family has in common.

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 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 have to 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, the male then fertilizes and then carries the eggs during incubation. There are a 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.