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Ophichthidae
SNAKE EELS
Sand eels

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Myrichthys aspetocheiros
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Myrichthys aspetocheiros
Myrichthys tigrinus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Myrichthys tigrinus

Ophichthus longipenis
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus longipenis
Ophichthus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus

Ophichthus frontalis
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus frontalis
Ophichthus zophochir
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus zophochir

Ophichthus melope
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus melope
Ophichthus zophochir
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus zophochir

Ophichthus zophochir
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus zophochir
Ophichthus longipenis
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ophichthus longipenis

Bascanichthys cylindricus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Bascanichthys cylindricus
Ichthyapus selachops
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ichthyapus selachops

Ichthyapus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Ichthyapus
Apterichtus equatorialis
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Apterichtus equatorialis

Ophichthidae
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Ophichthidae
español

Overview
Main identification features
  • rear nostril in upper lip
  • +/- dorsal, anal and tail fins
  • ll: all body
  • +/- pectorals
FAMILY OPHICHTHIDAE

SNAKE EELS, FINLESS EELS, RIDGEFIN EELS, SAILFIN EELS, SAND EELS,

SPOON-NOSE EELS, VIPER EELS, WORM EELS

Snake-eels have a typical eel-shaped body that is more or less rounded in cross section; the body is scaleless, the eyes are usually small and situated just above the mouth; the snout is often pointed or nearly so; the lower jaw is frequently underslung; the posterior nostril is usually within or piercing the upper lip; the gill openings occur on mid-side to underneath the body; the pectoral fins are present or absent; the tail tip is either hard, finless and pointed or the tail fin is conspicuous and confluent with the dorsal and anal fins.

This large family is distributed in all tropical and temperate oceans. There are about 55 genera and more than 250 species, with about 35 shallow living species in 20 genera in our region.

Although very common, snake-eels are seldom seen because they spend most of the time buried in the sand or mud. The pointed snout is useful for burrowing. In addition, many species have a bony, sharp tail and are equally adept at burrowing backward and forward. The species that have conspicuous bands or spotting are sometimes mistaken for sea snakes, but they are easily distinguished by their lack of scales and possession of a more or less pointed tail (paddle- like in sea snakes). The diet of most snake-eels consists of small fishes, crabs and shrimps.


References
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