The foveal and non-foveal retinal regions of the pipefish, Corythoichthyes paxtoni (Syngnathidae, Teleostei) are examined at the level of the light and electron microscopes. The pipefish possesses a deep, pit (convexiclivate) fovea which, although lacking the displacement of the inner retinal layers as described in other vertebrate foveae, is characterised by the exclusion of rods, a marked increase in the density of photoreceptors and a regular square mosaic of four double cones surrounding a central single cone. In the perifoveal and peripheral retinal regions, the photoreceptor mosaic is disrupted by the insertion of large numbers of rods, which reduce spatial resolving power but may uniformly increase sensitivity for off-axis rays. In addition to a temporal fovea subtending the frontal binocular field, there is also a central area centralis subtending the monocular visual field. Based on morphological comparisons with other foveate teleosts, four foveal types are characterised and foveal function discussed with respect to the theoretical advantage of a regular square mosaic.