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False pipefish

Solenostomus, also known as ghost pipefishes, false pipefishes or tubemouth fishes, is a genus of fishes in the order Syngnathiformes. Solenostomus is the only genus in the family Solenostomidae, and includes six currently recognized species.[2] Ghostpipefishes are related to pipefishes and seahorses. They are found in tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, from Asia to Africa.[3]

The animals, none of which are longer than 15 centimetres (5.9 in), float near motionlessly, with the mouth facing downwards, around a background that makes them nearly impossible to see. They feed on tiny crustaceans, sucked inside through their long snout. They live in open waters except during breeding, when they find a coral reef or muddy bottom, changing color and shape to minimize visibility.[3]

In many respects, they are similar to the pipefishes, but can be distinguished by the presence of pelvic fins, a prominent, spiny, dorsal fin, and star-shaped plates on the skin. Unlike true pipefish, female ghostpipefishes use their enlarged pelvic fins to brood their eggs until they hatch.[3]

Ornate ghostpipefish, Solenostomus paradoxus.



  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: p.560. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  2. ^ Family Solenostomidae [1] FishBase. Accessed 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Orr, J.W. & Pietsch, T.W. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 169. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  • "Solenostomus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 6 June 2006. 
  • Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten. Amazing Animals: Extraordinary Creatures and the Fantastic Worlds They Inhabit. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004. Page 116-117.
  • Orr, JW and Fritzsche, RA. 1993. Revision of the Ghost Pipefishes, Family Solenostomidae (Teleostei: Syngnathoidei). Copeia 1993:168-182.


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