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Species: Pythonichthys sanguineus, Caribbean Mud Eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head + body ~1/4 TL
eye very small
D & A join soft C
mouth long, opens at front
no pectoral
no LL

Pythonichthys sanguineus Poey, 1868

Caribbean Mud Eel

Body circular in cross-section at front, compressed at rear; tail long (~75% of TL); long head; a low skin ridge on side of snout forward of eye; very small eye, covered by transparent skin; rear nostril slit-like, just before and above eye; front nostril round with raised rim; mouth large, opens at front, ends well behind eye; teeth conical to molar-like, in 2-3 rows on jaws and 1-several at front of roof of mouth; a pair of fleshy folds on roof of mouth and papillae on top lip before front nostril; gill opening crescent shaped, small, low on side; no pectoral fins; dorsal and anal fins very reduced, more exposed just before they join the tail fin; dorsal fin origin near gill opening; no scales; no lateral line or pores on head.

Color: skin translucent, reddish due to color of surface blood vessels; dorsal and most of anal and tail fins black.

Reaches 80 cm.

Lives in mud bottoms.

Depth range: 12-55 m.

Cuba to the Amazon

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 80
Depth Range Min
  • 12
Depth Range Max
  • 55