Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Ophichthus tetratrema, Four-pored snake-eel

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rear nostril - tubular
pectoral = paddle
vomer teeth - 2 rows
D origin behind pectoral

Ophichthus tetranemus McCosker & Rosenblatt, 1998

Four-pored snake-eel

Body relatively robust, elongate (height at anus 3.5-4% TL); tail 58.5-60% of TL; head 11% of TL; eye moderate size, ~1/3 length of top jaw, over rear half of mouth; front nostril tubular under snout, ~1/3 of eye diameter; rear nostril a tube above top lip, its tip expanded and flap like, can extend below mouth line;  snout overhanging, rounded, conical when viewed from above; mouth large; teeth pointed, depressible, front of roof of mouth with 2-3 pairs of teeth, then 7-10 in a single row, 1 row of 15-19 teeth on lower jaws, 1-2 rows of 12-14 teeth on top jaws (1 row in smaller fish); gill opening vertical, semicircular; dorsal fin origin a little behind pectoral fin base; dorsal and anal fins low, expanded at rear of tail, tip of tail a blunt, finless point; pectorals paddle shaped, longer than wide, with restricted bases - opposite and above upper half of gill opening; lateral line not abruptly arched at rear of head.

Head and body tan to chocolate brown (black in life), darker on throat and belly; dorsal and anal fins pale, with dark bases; pectoral dark like body.

Size: 56 cm.

Habitat: sand bottoms.

Depth: 700-1000 m.

Costa Rica to Ecuador.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Panamic province endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 56
Depth Range Min
  • 700
Depth Range Max
  • 1000