Pipefishes, members of the family Syngnathidae and closely related to seahorses, occur in freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats. There are now about 230 known kinds of pipefishes, and about eighty percent of these occur in the region bounded by the northern Red Sea and the Pacific coast of the Americas. Some, such as the colorful "sea dragons" of southern Australia, are easily recognized, but most are less spectacular and often encountered in determining their identity. This book provides a "state of the art" treatment of the nomenclature and taxonomy of the 47 genera, 175 species and 7 subspecies the author presently recognizes in the Indo-Pacific region. Identification methods are explained, and keys are provided to the genera of the family Syngnathidae and to the subordinate taxa of Indo-Pacific pipefishes. Synonymies, diagnoses and distribution data are given for the Indo-Pacific taxa, and most species treatments are supplemented with additional information on habitat, size at maturity, intraspecific variation, etc. Species composition of selected Indo-Pacific zoogeographic regions are outlined, and notes are included on the pipefish fauna of the Atlantic Ocean.
The book is illustrated with some 293 figures, including 63 maps and 283 black and white photographs of Indo-Pacific pipefishes.
Written with a minimum of specialized terminology, this volume should be equally useful to scientists, aquarists and laymen interested in pipefishes of the Indo-Pacific region or elsewhere.