One genus, Hippocampus, with about 36 species (e.g., Kuiter 2001, 2003; Lourie et al., 1999; Lourie and Randall, 2003).
Infraorder Aulostomoida. Teeth small or absent; lateral line well developed to absent; usually four or five (rarely three) branchiostegal rays; gills comblike (not lobate); postcleithrum present.
Superfamily Aulostomoidea. Anterior four vertebrae elongate; three median, well-developed bones dorsally behind head (nuchal plates); usually six (rarely five) soft pelvic rays.
Family AULOSTOMIDAE (296)—trumpetfishes. Tropical marine; Atlantic and Indo-Pacific.
Body compressed, elongate, and scaly; fleshy barbel at tip of lower jaw; series of 8-12 isolated dorsal spines followed by a normal dorsal fin of 22-27 soft rays; anal rays 23-28; caudal fin rounded; anus far behind pelvics; lateral line well developed; abdominal vertebrae with two transverse processes of equal size (or a divided process); body musculature with a network of bony struts that forms an interwoven pattern (observed in Aulostomus chinensis); vertebrae 59-64 (24-26 + 35-38).
Trumpetfishes are predators and are usually seen on reefs. They often swim alongside larger fish or lie with their bodies at odd angles such as vertical with the head downward. Maximum length up to 80 cm.
One genus, Aulostomus, probably with three species (e.g., Fritzsche, 2003).
Family FISTULARIIDAE (297)—cornetfishes. Tropical marine; Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.
Body depressed, elongate, and naked or with minute prickles, and linear series of scutes (no scales); no barbel on jaw; no dorsal spines; anal and dorsal fins each with 13-20 soft rays; caudal fin forked with elongate filament produced by middle two caudal rays; anus short distance behind pelvic fins; lateral line well developed, arched anteriorly almost to middle of back and continuing onto caudal filament; abdominal vertebrae with two transverse processes but the posterior ones reduced; vertebrae 76-87.
Cornetfishes usually inhabit shallow waters of tropical and subtropical seas. They are predatory on other fishes, feeding both in open water and in coral
reefs. Their long tubular snout, which functions as a pipette, is an excellent adaptation for feeding among reefs. Maximum length up to 1.8 m, attained in Fistularia tabacaria, usually less than 1 m.
One genus, Fistularia, with four species (e.g., Fritzsche, 2003).
Superfamily Centriscoidea. Anterior five or six vertebrae elongate; pelvic fins with one spine and four soft rays. The two included families are recognized as subfamilies of Centriscidae by some (e.g., Eschmeyer, 1998).
Family MACRORAMPHOSIDAE (298)—snipefishes. Tropical and subtropical marine; Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.
Body compressed, deep, and usually with bony plates on each side of back; no barbel on jaw; 4-8 dorsal spines, second spine very long, all joined by a membrane; second dorsal fin has about 11-19 soft rays; lateral line present or absent. Maximum length up to 30 cm.
First known in the fossil record from the Upper Cretaceous, the earliest record of any syngnathiform. The species involved, Gasterorhamphosus zuppi-chinii, resembles Macroramphosus in body shape but, among various differences, has some characters suggesting an affinity with the Gasterosteoidei.
Three genera, Centriscops (1), Macroramphosus (about 5), and Notopogon (5), with about 11 species (e.g., Duhamel, 1995; Fritzsche, 2003).
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