Family: NETTASTOMATIDAE, Duckbill Eels
Duckbill eels, which reach up to 1 m, are elongate with a long narrow snout and a long slender, pointed tail; tail > 1/2 TL; eye large; front nostril tubular, at front of snout, rear nostril a slit or hole in front of eye; jaws long and pointed, reach back under rear edge of eye, with top jaw overhanging, no flanges on sides of top or bottom jaws; jaw teeth of varying sizes, exposed when mouth is closed; dorsal and anal fins confluent with tail fin; dorsal fin origin ~ over gill opening; pectoral fins present or absent; lateral line complete, on head and body; no scales.
The family of primarily deepwater eels, which occurs worldwide in tropical to subtropical areas, contains about 41 species in six genera. In our area there are six species (in 3 genera) that enter shallow water.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON & RODOLFO CLARO, AFTER SMITH (2002)