Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Dysomma anguillare, Shortbelly Eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout long, fleshy, overhanging, wrinkled. + papillae
LL complete
roof mouth - row 4 large, compound teeth
+ pectorals
gill openings low
anus under/near pectoral

Dysomma anguillare Barnard, 1923

Shortbelly Eel

Body stout; anus far forward, just behind pectoral tip; snout bulbous, elongate, tip fleshy, a few inconspicuous pleats at front, with small papillae, overhangs mouth; eye small; mouth large, gape extending well behind eye; front nostril tubular, rear nostril large, with a raised rim, on side of snout below mid-eye level; upper jaw teeth tiny, in irregular multiple rows; lower jaw teeth larger, widely spaced, ~10; a row of 4 large compound teeth on roof of mouth preceded by a pair of sideways oriented teeth; gill openings low on body, well separated, below pectorals; dorsal and anal fins well developed, confluent with tail fin, dorsal fin origin over pectoral base; scales absent; lateral line almost complete.

Pallid, tan above, white below, darker at the front; lower ½ of tail and tail fin dark; dorsal and anal fins whitish.

Reaches 52 cm.

Lives on mud bottoms, often at mouths of large rivers.

Depth range: 30-270 m.

The W Atlantic and Indo-W Pacific; the Gulf of Mexico to the Orinoco area.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 52
Depth Range Min
  • 30
Depth Range Max
  • 270