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Related FAQs: Snake and Worm Eels, Conger Eels, Moray Eels, Freshwater Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels 

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The Diversity of Aquatic Life Series

The Snake and Worm Eels, Family Ophichthidae

Bob Fenner

Myrichthys breviceps  


Brachysomophis cirrocheilos (Bleeker 1857), the Stargazer Snake Eel. Looking frightening like its namesake (the uranoscopid stargazer)... come to think of it, looking more terrifying... Indo-West Pacific; Red Sea to Indonesia. To four feet in length. N. Sulawesi image.  http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12886&genusname=Brachysomophis &speciesname=cirrocheilos

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Brachysomophis henshawi Jordan & Snyder 1904, the Reptilian Snake Eel. Indo-West Pacific; Arabian Sea to HI, Japan, Coral Sea. To 3.5 feet in length. N. Sulawesi image.  http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=59559&genusname=Brachysomophis &speciesname=henshawi

 

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Genus Myrichthys:

Myrichthys breviceps (Richardson 1844), the Sharptail Snake Eel. Tropical West Atlantic. To a bit over three feet in length. Rarely survives for any period of time in captivity due to a lack of feeding, collateral damage from collection, handling. Needs large, sandy-bottomed quarters, ghost shrimp, small crabs for food. May eat mouth-size or smaller fish tankmates. Wild photos below at night off of St. Lucia, and an aquarium image.
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Myrichthys colubrinus (Boddaert 1781), the Banded or Harlequin Snake Eel. Indo-Pacific. To nearly three feet in length. Similar in care, finickiness to its TWA congener (see above). Fine sand, dark areas, large space a must. Some can be trained to take fresh meaty foods with a feeding rod. Aquarium and N. Sulawesi photos of one of several color/marking variations. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/
speciesSummary.php?ID=8053&genusname=
Myrichthys&speciesname=colubrinus

Myrichthys maculosus (Cuvier 1816), the Tiger or Spotted Snake Eel. To a meter in length. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the central Pacific, not including Hawaii and the Leeward Islands. Replaced by Myrichthys magnificus in the Hawaiian Islands. Lives in and above sandy bottoms, sometimes exposing itself entirely while hunting for food. Here, out and about during the day in the Galapagos. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/ SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=2650& genusname=Myrichthys& speciesname=maculosus


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Myrichthys tigrinus Girard 1859, the Spotted Snake Eel. Eastern Pacific; Sea of Cortez to Peru, including the Galapagos Islands. To 26 inches in length. Found out during the day foraging for food at times. Galapagos pix.  http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/ SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=8298&genusname= Myrichthys&speciesname=tigrinus

Genus Ophichthus:

Ophichthus altipennis (Kaup 1856), the Highfin Snake Eel. Seen mostly in the sand by day. Darken with age, size. A younger individual in Mabul, Malaysia and a larger/older one with a friendly shrimp on its snout and one out and about in N. Sulawesi.
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Ophichthus bonaparti (Kaup 1856), Napoleon Snake Eel. To 3/4 meter in length. Indo-West Pacific: off Durban, South Africa, then from Mauritius to Indonesia. Lembeh Strait pic, Indo.

 

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Ophichthus melanochir Bleeker 1865. Synonym for Ophichthus altipennis. Lembeh Strait pic, Indo.

http://data.gbif.org/species/13563082

 


Poeciloconger (now Ariosoma) fasciatus (Gunther 1872), Barred Sand Conger Eel. Bali 2014


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