Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall, 2005
Snake eel
Apterichtus australis
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Ophichthidae (Snake eels), subfamily: Ophichthinae
Max. size:  40 cm TL (male/unsexed); 57 cm TL (female)
Environment:  benthopelagic; marine; depth range 12 - 100 m
Distribution:  Western Central Pacific: from Japan and the south Pacific island groups of Rapa, Pitcairn, Easter, New Zealand, and possibly Lord Howe.
Diagnosis:  Vertebrae: 162-167. An elongate, finless species of sphagebranchin ophichthine (sensu McCosker 1977) with: tail 45-57% and head 5-5.5% of total length; 3 preopercular pores and 3 pores in supratemporal canal; teeth conical, uniserial on jaws and vomer; body mostly pale in preservative, creamy dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally with light and dark head markings in life; and mean vertebral formula 82–164, total vertebrae 162–167. Anterior nostril within an elongate tube, approximately 1/2 the diameter of the eye, its base about midsnout and anterolaterally directed when viewed from above. Posterior nostril opens in outer lip beneath anterior margin of eye. Branchial openings low, ventral; branchial region modestly expanded, creating a bulbous region in posterior half of head (Ref. 75631).
Biology:  Occurs over sand with associated rock and coral reef bottoms and collected with ichthyocides and dredges at depths between 12-100 m (Ref. 75631). Largest specimen examined, female at 57 cm TL (Ref. 101270).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

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