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Species: Ophichthus zophochir, Yellow snake-eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

gill opening & fins dark
tail 63-70% TL
rear nostril barbels: 1 before, 1-2 after
pectoral long, pointed

Ophichthus zophochir Jordan & Gilbert, 1882

Yellow snake-eel

Body elongate, slender; tail 63-70% or more of TL; eye moderate, about over middle of mouth; front nostril tubular under snout; rear nostril a hole just above top lip, covered by a flap attached to lip; 1 barbel between front and rear nostrils, and usually 2 behind rear nostril; rear nostril opens just above lip or in mouth; snout overhanging;  mouth large; teeth pointed, 2 rows on jaws, and on front of roof of mouth, no canines; gill opening vertical, semicircular; dorsal origin over middle of pectorals; tip of tail a blunt, finless point; pectoral fin long, pointed, reaching past dorsal fin origin, with restricted base - opposite and above upper half of gill opening; lateral line not abruptly arched at rear of head.

Brown or purplish brown above, paler to yellowish below; row of pores on lower jaw in dark spots, lateral line pores of body unmarked; lower jaw, throat, opercular region and all fins dark.

Size: 98 cm.

Habitat: in burrows in muddy, rocky and sandy bottoms.

Depth: 0-110 m.

N California to Peru.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • All species
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 110
Length Max
  • 98