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Species: Ichthyapus ophioneus, Surf eel

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snout pointed, overhanging
eyes minute
no fins
tail tip hard point
nostrils: front = hole, rear in mouth



Ichthyapus ophioneus (Evermann & Marsh, 1900)

Surf eel

Body elongate, cylindrical, pointed at both ends, entirely finless; head and trunk 36-38% of TL; eyes minute; snout sharply pointed from side, depressed and broad above, overhanging, underside flattened and with a tooth-bearing groove; front nostril a flat hole; rear nostril with an irregular rim, opens into mouth; teeth pointed, in single rows on jaws (24-30 small teeth on each jaw) and roof of mouth (19 teeth, in 2 rows at front), a V shaped patch of 5-7 teeth between jaw teeth in a groove under snout; gill openings entirely below, converging forward, almost touching underneath; lateral line complete, lines of each side of head connected by 2 canals with across top of head.

Uniformly yellowish to flesh colored.

Reaches 48 cm.

Burrows in sand; often off unprotected beaches.

Depth range: 0-50 m.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Beach
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • All species..
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 48
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50