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Species: Ophichthus triserialis, Pacific snake-eel

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eye large
body: 2 rows dark spots
outer D - dark spots
tail 53-58% TL
rear nostril - long flap

Ophichthus triserialis (Kaup, 1856)


Pacific snake-eel

Robust, cylindrical; tail 53-58% of TL; eye large, about over middle of mouth; front nostril tubular under snout; rear nostril before eye, covered with a long fleshy flap that extends below top lip; snout overhanging; mouth large; teeth pointed, 2 rows on each jaw, 1 row on roof of mouth, no canines; gill opening vertical, semicircular; dorsal origin over rear of pectoral; tip of tail a blunt, finless point; pectoral fins well developed, larger than eye, with restricted bases - opposite and above upper half of gill opening; lateral line not abruptly arched at rear of head.

Tan, 2 rows of large dark brown spots on body, 1 along base of dorsal fin, and 1 along lateral line, spots in the 2 lines may alternate; dorsal fin yellow with a series of dark oblong spots along outer half; smaller spots scattered along belly and on sides and top of head; anal and pectoral dusky, sometimes with small dusky spots.

Size: 113 cm.

Habitat: burrows in sandy and muddy bottoms.

Depth: 1-155 m.

N California to Peru.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • No Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 155
Length Max
  • 113