Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Ophichthidae
(Snake eels) > Ophichthinae
Etymology: Ophichthus: Greek, ophis = serpent + Greek, ichthys = fish (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; demersal; depth range 21 - 50 m (Ref. 2683), usually ? - 50 m (Ref. 26999). Subtropical; - 25°S
Western Atlantic: Bermuda and southern Florida, USA to Brazil. Lesser Antilles (Ref. 26938). Eastern Atlantic: Senegal to Angola (Ref. 4455). Doubtful record from the western Mediterranean (Ref. 13729).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 210 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26938); common length : 100.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217)
Body pale, dark band across back of head (Ref. 26938).
Lives in a permanent burrow, often in very shallow water. Heads protrude diagonally from the sand. Nocturnal. Feeds on octopus and fish (Ref. 5217). Bold and easily approached. Feared by fishers (Ref. 9710). Rarely consumed (Ref. 3795).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Böhlke, J.E., 1981. Ophichthidae. In W. Fischer, G. Bianchi and W.B. Scott (eds.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Eastern Central Atlantic, (Fishing Areas 34, 47 (in part)), Vol. 3, [var. pag.]. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 3651)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30911)
Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; bait: usually
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 19.2 - 27.5, mean 24.8 (based on 156 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00138 (0.00059 - 0.00325), b=2.92 (2.71 - 3.13), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.80 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (75 of 100) .