Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Ophichthus cylindroideus, Tentacle-nose eel, Tentacle-nose snake eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

front nostril with tentacle
small barbel on lip between nostrils
uniform color, fin edges black
2 rows teeth on jaws & center roof of mouth

Ophichthus cylindroideus (Ranzani, 1839)

Tentacle-nose snake eel

Body cylindrical, stouter than tail; tail 63-68% of TL; eye moderate, over center of mouth; snout broad, overhanging; front nostril tubular, with a tentacle longer than the tube hanging from its inner rim; rear nostril a large opening with an irregularly rimmed flap, opens mostly outside mouth; a small barbell from lip between front and rear nostrils; mouth large; teeth conical, small, no fangs; roof of mouth with 19-35 teeth mostly in 2 rows; jaw teeth in two rows; top jaw with 18-30 close set on outer row, 13-21 back pointing teeth on inner row  (which begins behind upper row); lower jaw with 20-30 outer and inner teeth, plus 2-5 in a short 3-row patch at front; dorsal origin over mid- to near tip of pectoral; pectoral fin long (34-50% of head length), like a spatula, with restricted base - opposite and above upper half of gill opening; tip of tail a blunt, finless point; lateral line complete, lines of each side of head connected by 2 canals with across top of head.

Preserved fish: grey above, paler below, darkest along top of body; throat, cheeks and chin white; dorsal and anal with black edges.

Reaches 93.3 cm.

On soft bottoms.

Depth range: 24-50 m.

Puerto Rico to S Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • All species..
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Depth Range Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 24
Length Max
  • 93.3