Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Heteroconger camelopardalis, Giraffe Garden Eel

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extremely elongate
head brown + 2 vertical rows white spots
body white + 2 oblique dark stripes

Heteroconger camelopardalis (Lubbock, 1980)

Giraffe Garden Eel

Body very elongate, compressed; tail much longer than head and trunk; head short, snout very short (< eye); mouth very short (not reaching rear of eye), oblique, lower jaw only a little projecting; teeth in broad bands an jaw and roof of mouth; top lip flanges continuous across front of snout and enclosing front (tubular) nostrils; rear nostril a hole before eye; pectoral fins tiny (much smaller than eye) skin flaps; tip of tail stiff, with obvious but small tail fin; dorsal and anal fins continuous with the tail fin; 171-173 vertebrae; 155-157 pores on lateral line.

Upper head dark brown, white below, a vertical row of 4 small white spots just behind eye and a second row of 3 larger spots, lips black; body white, with 2 striking dark brown diagonal stripes at front that join at rear and form an elongated, inclined V, the front stripe from upper rear of operculum over pectoral and gill opening to under dorsal fin, the rear stripe from side of belly up to back; rest of body with irregular brown spots.

Reaches 50 cm.

Lives in burrows on sand and rubble plains.

Depth range: 15-50 m.

The NW and SE Caribbean to Brazil and the S Atlantic islands. At least one large colony in Tobago.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
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)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 50