Part eight of Fishes of the Western North Atlantic continues to provide the comprehensive and informative accounts of fishes that distinguish the previous seven volumes in the series and was originally published in 1982. This volume includes accounts of 32 species in 11 genera and three subfamilies of pipefishes and seahorses, family Syngnathidae. These primarily coastal dwelling bony fishes also penetrate into freshwaters and inhabit oceanic areas.
Each account combines a review of published knowledge with original study and research, resulting in important contributions to ichthyology not found elsewhere. The fishes treated in this volume are commonly encountered by inshore fishermen, and are also well known to the general public through the popular literature. Various members of the family, particularly seahorses, are popular in the aquarium trade and are sold as dry curios.
The pipefish subfamilies Doryrhamphinae and Syngnathinae are detailed on 172 pages by C. E. Dawson of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Museum who also provides a general account of the family Syngnathidae. The 29 species of pipefishes incorporated into 10 genera include 4 species not known from the area defined as western North Atlantic in this series, but which are included to provide a comprehensive treatment.
The account of the seahorses, subfamily Hippocampinae, is by Richard P. Vari of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Three species endemic to the western Atlantic are discussed.