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Species: Ophichthus frontalis, Death-banded snake-eel

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wide, indistinct dark bars

Ophichthus frontalis (Garman, 1899)

Death-banded snake-eel

Elongate but relatively robust, body height < 7% of length, slightly compressed; head large, ~ 14% of TL; tail 54-59% or more of TL; eye large, about over middle of mouth; front nostril tubular, long under snout; rear nostril tubular, on upper lip near eye; snout overhanging; mouth large; teeth pointed, small, 2 rows on jaws, 1 row on front of roof of mouth; gill openings wide (twice length of pectoral fin base), vertical, low on sides; dorsal origin over rear ¼ of pectoral fin; tip of tail a blunt, finless point; pectoral fin well developed, rounded, ~ 29% of head length, base short, opposite and above upper half of gill opening; lateral line not abruptly arched at rear of head.

Back with dark bars as wide as snout and wider than interspaces, bars becoming darker after death; no dark spots along lower jaw; tail tip, anal fin + edge of pectoral dark.

Size: 86 cm.

Habitat: sand and mud bottoms.

Depth: 35-760 m.

Central Baja, the Gulf of California; Costa Rica to Ecuador.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • All species
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 86
Depth Range Min
  • 35
Depth Range Max
  • 760