DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThis species is wide-ranging throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, eastern Pacific, and eastern and western Atlantic regions (Dawson 1982, Bohlke and Chaplin 1993, Robins et al. 1986); also reported from the eastern Pacific near the terminus of the Panama canal (Hildebrand 1939). The subspecies lineatus ranges from New Jersey to Sao Paulo, Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and West Indies (see map in Gilbert and Relyea 1992).
The range in the western Atlantic is extremely spotty. This fish commonly enters fresh water in Central America, the Greater Antilles, including the Black and Montego rivers in Jamaica (Caldwell 1966) and Rio San Juan in Cuba (Eigenmann 1902), and east-central Florida (Gilmore 1977); never or rarely collected from freshwater tributaries in extreme southern Florida, western Florida, and the northern Gulf of Mexico (Gilmore and Hastings 1983). Some individuals have been collected in the salt marshes of Mississippi but these populations did not overwinter (Dawson 1970). Three specimens were recorded from lagoons at Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico (Jordan and Dickerson 1908). Although not documented, breeding grounds may exist in freshwater areas of this region in Mexico (Gilmore and Hastings 1983). Brooding males, females, and juveniles have all been observed in a small freshwater stream in Bahia, Brazil (Dawson 1982). Mature individuals (60-90 mm in length) were reported returning from Costa Rican marine habitats to fresh water in the Tortuguero estuary (Gilbert and Keslo 1971). A breeding population has also been described in Gatun Lake, Panama (Hildebrand 1939). This pipefish undoubtedly occurs at other localities within the region described, but its persistent absence from many areas suggests that its non-uniform distribution is not merely an artifact of collecting. It is probably completely absent from northern South America between Trinidad and eastern Brazil (Gilbert 1978). Breeding adults and permanent populations are limited to tropical and subtropical areas (Gilmore and Hastings 1983). The most northern records are in New Jersey and coastal South Carolina (Fowler 1945) and probably only exist there as a result of juveniles being carried by strong currents (Gilbert and Relyea 1992). In Florida, it has been recorded from the lower St. John's River (San Carlos Creek) (McLane 1955), Anastasia Island (specimen in University of Florida collection), vicinity of Vero Beach (Gilmore 1977, Herema 1974), Loxahatchee River estuary and Jupiter Inlet (Christensen 1965), all on the east coast. A single immature specimen (30 mm SL) was taken from adjacent to the mouth of Tampa Bay (Powell, Dwinell, and Dwinell 1972), and one individual was found attached to sargassum floating in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near Destin, Florida (Hastings and Bortone 1976). To the west it has been recorded from Dauphin Island, Alabama (Gilbert 1978) and from the coast of Mississippi (Dawson 1970).