Scolecenchelys breviceps (Günther, 1876)
Short-headed worm eel
photo by Groeneveld, R.

Family:  Ophichthidae (Snake eels), subfamily: Myrophinae
Max. size:  60 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 156 m
Distribution:  Eastern Indian Ocean: southern Australia, from Rottnest Island, Western Australia to Port Arthur, Tasmania. Southwest Pacific: New Zealand (Ref. 5755).
Diagnosis:  Diagnosis: Moderately elongate with tail 58-63% of TL; dorsal fin arises slightly ahead of middle of preanal distance; blunt snout; large eye, 11-16 times in HL with posterior margin above or slightly in advance of corner of mouth; eye diameter less than interorbital distance; small, numerous teeth, conical and biserial anteriorly and uniserial posteriorly on jaws and vomer; color tan dorsally, pale ventrally, sharply delineated along mid-flank, anus not within a black spot; MVF 23/56/164; total vertebrae 161-167 (Ref. 56887).
Biology:  Found inshore, in bays (Ref. 9563); burrowing, on soft bottoms (Ref. 7300). Caught under surface nightlights, and by trap, trawl, hook-and-line, and is occasionally discovered in fish stomachs; a benthic species living from tidepool depths to 156 meters (Ref. 56887).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 25 November 2019 Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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