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Species: Myrophis punctatus, Speckled worm eel

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1 pore behind eye
D origin ~ midway between gill opening & anus

Myrophis punctatus Lütken, 1852

Speckled worm eel

Moderately elongate, compressed; tail 58-64% of TL, its tip flexible; snout blunt, broadly depressed, without groove on underside; eye large, its size affected by sexual development, centered over top jaw; 1 pore behind upper ½ of eye; front nostril tubular, rear nostril under a flap, opening into mouth; lips without barbells; gill opening small; on underside; teeth small, conical, curved back, an outer ring of 9-10 teeth + several in center at front between top jaws, a front patch then 1-2 rows (usually 1 at rear) of 24-29 teeth on center of roof of mouth; top jaw with 23-25 close-set teeth in outer row, 6-12 longer, sharper, space teeth on inner row, sometimes 3-4 rows at front; lower jaw with outer row of 26-28 small, close-set teeth and an inner row or 3-row patch of 6-7 teeth; gill opening small, at lower corner of pectoral base; dorsal fin origin about midway between gill opening and anus, > twice head length behind snout tip; dorsal and anal confluent with tail fin; pectoral fin well developed, broad based; lateral line pores visible on head and trunk only, only a few behind anus, lines of each side of head connected by 2 canals with across top of head.

Uniform pale tan, speckled with squarish brown spots on upper head and body, chin, and on all of tail; anal fin white; dorsal fin white at front, base grey at rear.

Reaches 35.3 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms of seagrass beds and mangroves, frequently in brackish water and tidal creeks; enters freshwater.

Depth range: 0-20 m, usually < 7 m.

The Carolinas to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Estuary
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mangrove
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 35.3
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20