Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Ophidion species A, Southern cusk-eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D & A: black margins
lower gill rakers: 4 medium
pelvic = 1.3-1.5x pectoral

Ophidion species A

Southern Cusk-eel

Elongate, compressed, the greatest depth ~ 15% of SL; head compressed; snout overhanging, with small, blunt spine; mouth slightly angled upwards; flaps under nostrils extend onto top jaw; operculum with a strong, skin covered spine at its upper corner; 4 moderately long lower gill rakers; dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail; dorsal rays about 142-148; anal rays 118-126; pectoral rays 23-25; dorsal and anal fins confluent, tail rounded; pelvic fins below eye, long (1.3-1.5 in pectorals), outer branch ~ 1.35x inner branch; scales smooth, elongate, not overlapping, at right angles rather than regular series, none on head.

Light grey brown, somewhat silvery; outer edge of dorsal and anal fins blackish; inside mouth and gill chamber pale to slightly dusky.

Size: grows to at least 18 cm.

Inhabits sand bottoms adjacent to reefs.

Depth: 5-10 m.

The Galapagos and Peru.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • 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
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Peruvian province, primarily
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 18
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 10