Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch which is found under the tail (Ref. 205).
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The chain pipefish, Syngnathus louisianae, is a member of the family Syngnathidae. The IRL contains a few members of this group, including five other pipefishes and three seahorse species. Syngnathids are characterized by a body divided into tail and trunk portions, and a head with a prominent snout (Robins & Ray 1986). The length of this snout is one of the main factors used to cluster pipefishes into three groups. The chain pipefish is a long-snout species, with a head to snout ratio of less than 1.9 (Robins & Ray 1986). The common name of the species is derived from the long row of chainlike diamond-shaped marks along the lower side. The dorsal fin of syngnathids is usually aligned with tail and trunk rings. In S. louisianae, the fin is located between the 2nd and 3rd trunk ring, extending up to the 6th tail ring some individuals (Dawson 1972). Other fin ray and meristic counts are as follows: dorsal fin rays = 33-36; trunk rings = 19-21; and tail rings = 36-37 (Robins & Ray 1986).
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Distribution

Western Atlantic: Virginia in USA, Bermuda and northern Gulf of Mexico in USA to Campeche in Mexico and Jamaica; absent from Bahamas
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Western Atlantic: Virginia in USA, Bermuda and northern Gulf of Mexico in USA to Campeche in Mexico and Jamaica; absent from Bahamas.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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The chain pipefish can be found throughout the India River Lagoon, usually in association with seagrass beds and drift algae.
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Western Atlantic: Bermuda and Gulf of Mexico to Jamaica.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 380 mm TL
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Max. size

38.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251))
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Little information exists on the maximum age and average lifespan of S. louisianae. The maximum reported length for the chain pipefish is 38 cm (Monteiro et al. 2005, Robins & Ray 1986), but most specimens collected in the field measure between 2.8 and 10 cm (Dawson 1972).
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Look Alikes

As mentioned above, five other pipefishes are found in the IRL. Of these, one is a long-snout species like S. louisianae. The dusky pipefish, S. floridae, is generally smaller than S. louisianae, at a maximum length of 25 cm (Robins & Ray 1986). The body is olive-brown and variably mottled without districts bands. The dorsal fin is usually located from the 2nd trunk ring to the 4th or 5th tail ring. Other fin ray and meristic counts are as follows: dorsal fin rays = 26-34; trunk rings = 17-18; and tail rings = 30-38 (Robins & Ray 1986). The commonly seen gulf pipefish, S. scovelli, is a short-snout species only reaching 7.5 cm in length. Regional Occurrence & Habitat Preference: The range of the chain pipefish extends from Virginia to the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Gulf of Mexico. However, this species is reported to be absent from the Bahamas (Robins & Ray 1986). Most populations of S. louisianae inhabit seagrass beds, marsh areas (Kanouse et al. 2006) and floating mats of the brown algae Sargassum natans and S. fluitans (Wells & Rooker 2004).
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine
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Depth range based on 80 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 25 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.5 - 823
  Temperature range (°C): 5.768 - 26.431
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 26.022
  Salinity (PPS): 34.478 - 36.211
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.676 - 5.176
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 1.692
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 20.604

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0.5 - 823

Temperature range (°C): 5.768 - 26.431

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 26.022

Salinity (PPS): 34.478 - 36.211

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.676 - 5.176

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 1.692

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 20.604
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Habitat Type: Marine

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Like other syngnathids, chain pipefish prey mostly on small crustaceans such as shrimps, amphipods and crabs.Predators: Little information exists about predators of the chain pipefish, but the ability of the species to camouflage itself between seagrass blades and among clumps of algae reduces predation. Still, individuals are likely preyed upon by other fishes and birds.
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Associations

No known obligate associations exist for S. louisianae. However, chain pipefish are associated with several organisms common to seagrass beds and drift algae communities. In Sargassum mats, S. louisianae can be found alongside a variety of other invertebrates and fishes, including: sargassumfish, Histrio histrio; sergeant majors, Abudefduf saxatilis; blue runners, Caranx crysos; gray triggerfish, Balistes capriscus; planehead filefish, Monacanthus hispidus; and greater amberjack, Seriola dumerili (Wells & Rooker 2004). For extensive lists of other species found throughout the ecosystems in which S. louisianae occurs, please refer to the "Habitats of the IRL" link at the left of this page.
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Population Biology

The highest abundance for the chain pipefish occurs in Florida during the summer months of May to July (Dawson 1972, Kanouse et al. 2006, Wells & Rooker 2004). Few density estimates exist for S. louisianae, but the total catch for populations inhabiting Sargassum mats in the northern Gulf of Mexico was approximately 2,000 individuals (Wells & Rooker 2004).
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Male carries the eggs in a brood pouch (Ref. 205).
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Reproduction

Like most other syngnathids, S. louisianae males give birth to live young from eggs transferred from the female to a specialized marsupium called a brood pouch. Unlike most seahorses, pipefishes of the genus Syngnathus incubate eggs in an inverted pouch (Monteiro et al. 2005). Fertilization occurs after the female transfers the eggs, and incubation lasts until embryos develop into juveniles. Studies suggest that reproduction peaks in late spring and early summer for populations in Florida, with a large abundance of juveniles found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in August (Wells & Rooker 2004). Information on maturation age and size is scarce, but the largest reported length for the chain pipefish (38 cm) was for a pregnant male (Monteiro et al. 2005).
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Growth

Compared to other syngnathids, the embryology and development of S. louisianae is poorly documented. The maximum number of eggs reported for a single male was 900, each measuring approximately 0.8 mm in diameter (Monteiro et al. 2005). Temperature &
  • Robins, CR & GC Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York. USA. 354 pp.
  • Dawson, CE. 1972. Nektonic pipefishes (Syngnathidae) from the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi. Copeia. 1972: 844-848.
  • Herald, ES. 1942. Three new pipefishes from the Atlantic coast of North and South America with a key to the Atlantic American species. Stanford Ichthyol. Bull. 2: 125-134.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1954. A study of the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus Ives) grounds in the western Gulf of Mexico. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 3: 233-366.
  • Hildebrand, HH. 1955. A study of the fauna of the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad) grounds in the Gulf of Campeche. Publ. Ist. Mar. Sci. Univ. Texas. 4: 169-232.
  • Joseph, EB & RW Yerger. 1956. The fishes of Alligator Harbor, Florida, with notes on their natural history. Florida State Univ. Stud. 22: 111-156.
  • Kanouse, S, La Peyre, MK & JA Nyman. 2006. Nekton use of Ruppia maritima and non-vegetated bottom habitat types within brackish marsh ponds. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 327: 61-69.
  • Monteiro, NM, Almada, VC & MN Vieira. 2005. Implications of different brood pouch structures in syngnathid reproduction. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK. 85: 1235-1241.
  • Wells, RJD & JR Rooker. 2004. Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 81-99.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Syngnathus louisianae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Wikipedia

Chain pipefish

Chain pipefish, Syngnathus louisianae, is a pipefish species, inhabits the Western Atlantic from Virginia, Bermuda and northern Gulf of Mexico to Campeche and Jamaica, but absent from Bahamas. Marine subtropical reef-associated fish, up to 38 cm length.

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