Large Spotted Snake Eel

Family, Genus, Class & Etymology

Family    Ophichthidae
Description    Snake eels
Environment    Fresh, Brackish & Marine
Etymology    Greek, ophis = serpent + Greek, ichthys = fish
Genus    60
No. of Species    314
Order    Anguilliformes
Class    Actinopterygii
Reproductive Guild    Nonguarders
Distribution    Tropical to warm temperate waters. Coastal, some species entering rivers. Posterior nostril usually lying within or piercing the upper lip, opening into mouth. Tongue attached. Branchiostegal rays 15-49 pairs, overlapping midventrally to form a 'jugostegalia', a basketlike structure. Poorly developed neural spines, when present. Hyomandibulae usually vertical, but may be inclined backward or forward. With or without pectoral fins. Vertebrae 110-270. Most species spend their time burried in sand and hunt small fishes and crustaceans by sense of smell.