Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Scytalichthys miurus, Short-tailed viper-eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head flat, snake-like
mouth large
eye small, high, at front
pale + large dark spots
tail: ~ 1/3 TL, tip hard & finless



Scytalichthys miurus (Jordan & Gilbert, 1882)

Short-tailed viper-eel

Body cylindrical, elongate; tail short, ~ 36% TL; head long, snake-like; snout pointed, flattened, angled down, overhanging; eyes small, at top edge of head, well forward of middle of long mouth; teeth slender, pointed, 2 series on top jaw, 1 on lower jaw; front nostril tubular, rear nostril inside mouth in upper jaw; gill openings crescent shaped, low on sides; pectoral fins very small, their bases restricted; tip of tail a hard finless point; dorsal origin well behind gill opening; lateral line along body and most of tail, pores conspicuous.

Pale yellow, 2 rows of large, round alternating dark spots on body, 1 along upper back, 1 (smaller spots) along lateral line; scattered small spots on sides and top of head, along lower jaw; fins all pale.

Size: 97 cm.

Habitat: sandy bottoms.

Depth: 10-85 m.

The Gulf of California to the Galapagos.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 97
Depth Range Min
  • 10
Depth Range Max
  • 85