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Aeoliscus strigatus Prague 2011 2

Centriscidae, commonly known as snipefishes, is a family of marine fishes that belong to the order Syngnathiformes. This family is characterized by their elongated bodies, covered in hard, plate-like scales, and a distinctive, tubular snout which they use to suck in their prey. The members of this family are found in tropical and temperate oceans around the world.

Description[edit | edit source]

Centriscidae species typically have very slender, elongated bodies that can reach up to 50 cm in length, although most species are much smaller. Their bodies are encased in a series of bony plates, giving them a somewhat rigid appearance. One of the most distinctive features of these fishes is their long, tubular snout, ending in a small mouth. This snout is used to vacuum up small prey items such as plankton, crustaceans, and small fishes. Their coloration varies from species to species but often includes shades of silver, green, or brown, helping them blend into their surroundings.

Habitat and Distribution[edit | edit source]

Centriscidae are found in both tropical and temperate seas worldwide. They tend to inhabit clear, offshore waters, often near coral reefs or along continental shelves. Some species are found in deeper waters, while others may venture into shallower, coastal areas. Their distribution ranges from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Behavior[edit | edit source]

Snipefishes are generally solitary or form small groups. They are not strong swimmers; instead, they rely on their camouflage and slender bodies to evade predators. When threatened, some species can burrow into the sand. Their diet primarily consists of planktonic crustaceans and small fish, which they capture using their specialized snout.

Reproduction[edit | edit source]

Little is known about the reproduction of Centriscidae. It is believed that they are oviparous, with females laying eggs that are then fertilized externally. The eggs and larvae are planktonic, drifting with ocean currents until they mature.

Conservation[edit | edit source]

Currently, there is limited information on the conservation status of most Centriscidae species. However, due to their specific habitat requirements and the ongoing threats to marine environments, such as pollution, overfishing, and climate change, it is crucial to monitor their populations and ensure their habitats are protected.

Classification[edit | edit source]

The family Centriscidae is divided into several genera, including but not limited to:

Each of these genera contains species with unique adaptations to their environments, showcasing the diversity within this family.

See Also[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD