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Species: Ophichthus rugifer, Wrinkled snake-eel

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body striated, robust
eye large
body: 2 rows dark spots
D - dark streaks
tail 56-62% TL
rear nostril: large flat tube
pectoral like spatula

Ophichthus rugifer McCosker & Rosenblatt, 1998

Wrinkled snake-eel

A relatively robust species; tail 56-62% of TL; head 10-11.5% of TL; body of large individuals conspicuously etched with fine longitudinal striations; eye large, about 8-12.5% of head length, about over middle of mouth; front nostril tubular under snout; rear nostril in a large flat tube, opening outside top lip; snout overhanging; a small barbel on lip just before rear nostril; mouth large; teeth conical, strong, 1 row on roof of mouth, two rows on sides of jaws; gill opening vertical, semicircular; dorsal fin origin over mid-pectoral; tip of tail a blunt, finless point; pectorals spatula-like, 25-40% of head length, with restricted bases - opposite and above upper half of gill opening; lateral line not abruptly arched at rear of head.

Preserved fish yellow, darker above; a series of brown spots from mid-flank to dorsal base, irregularly paired along midline, largest spots about eye diameter; dorsal fin margin with series of brown streaks; front half of anal fin yellowish, darker on base at rear, flanked by reddish stripes; median fins black at rear as they enter a deep groove; most of pectoral of large individuals dark; head and throat covered with smaller brown spots; front nostrils and tail tip yellow.

Size: reaches 68 cm.

Habitat: sand and rubble bottoms.

Depth: 3-200 m.

Galapagos and Cocos Islands.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • Multiple oceanic islands endemic
  • Island (s) only
  • TEP oceanic island (s) endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 68
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 200