Ophichthus ophis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Spotted snake eel
photo by Sampaio, C.L.S.

Family:  Ophichthidae (Snake eels), subfamily: Ophichthinae
Max. size:  210 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; marine; depth range 21 - 50 m
Distribution:  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).
Diagnosis:  Body pale, dark band across back of head (Ref. 26938).
Biology:  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).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 15 August 2011 Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  reports of ciguatera poisoning
Country info:   

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 16.10.01
Checked by: Torres, Armi G. - 05.08.94

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