NANFA-- ID help wanted - freshwater pipefish in N. Florida

Doug Dame (
Mon, 24 Jun 2002 08:30:16 -0400

I was out collecting yesterday, and was absolutely flabbergasted to catch a 3"
gold/green long pipefish in some backwater weeds in the Sante Fe River.
Guesstimating from my DeLorme book this is approx 55 miles from the sea ( into
the Gulf of Mexico, via the Suwannee River) and per my hobbyist hydrometer the
salinity is 0.00. I was not catching exactly what I was hoping to catch, but
it absolutely never crossed my mind that I might be catching pipefish. Given
the first one, catches #2 (5" green) , #3 (3" green) and #4 (5" green) were
somewhat less amazing, but equally pleasing.

At the moment I do not have a px to show you.

Page et al doesn't list any freshwater pipefish, but some other source I've
seen says that the gulf pipefish (Syngnathus scovelli) can be found a good
distance inland. And it's supposedly the most common florida pipefish.

However, the very uncommon opossum pipefish (Microphis brachyurus brachyurus)
reportedly breeds in fresh or close to fresh water. My understanding is that
this is documented as being localized around the south end of Indian River
Lagoon (Ft. Pierce area, Atlantic side.) ... but apparently there are at least
a couple of reports of these guys also being found in the north gulf .. so (if
those are accurate), this isn't necessarily impossible, either.

Anybody know how an amateur can tell the difference between the gulf and
opossum pipefish ? (Given the scant materials I have on pipefish, this is
like trying to pick the perp out of a police lineup at the Elvis
Impersonators' Convention.)

Or if anyone has any ideas of other likely candidates for what these might be,
I'd be keen to hear those too.


Doug Dame
Interlachen FL
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