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Species: Heteroconger luteolus, Yellow Garden Eel

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extremely elongate
bright yellow above, white below

Heteroconger luteolus Smith, 1989

Yellow 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 on 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; 139-148 vertebrae; numerous pores on lateral line.

Bright yellow on upper 1/2 of head and front body, with numerous scattered small dark dots, abruptly white on lower half; lips dark at front; eye with a black bar separating a yellow upper part and white lower part of iris.

Reaches 50 cm.

On sandy bottoms.

Depth range at least 15-37 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to the Bahamas.

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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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent only
  • Continental primarily
  • GC endemic
  • Gulf of Mexico endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 37