Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes | snakes
Snake, eel or eel-like fish?
How to tell them apart?
updated Oct 2016

Long and squirmy These kinds of animals are often mistaken for one another.

Yellow-lipped sea snake
Laticauda colubrina
Moray eels
Family Muraenidae
Carpet eel-blenny
Congrogadus subducens
Family Pseudochromidae
The sea snake is a reptile.
The moray eel is a fish.
The carpet eel-blenny is a fish.
No gills or gill openings. Gill openings reduced to pores. Has large gill covers.
No tube on the nostrils. Pair of tubular nostrils at the snout. No tube on the nostrils.
No fins. No pelvic and pectoral fins. Has pectoral fins
Has large scales. No scales. Has small scales.
The tail is flattened and paddle-like. Dorsal and anal fins are continuous with the tail fin. Dorsal and anal fins are continuous with the tail fin.

More comparisons

The worm-eel is a fish

Snake-eels have pectoral fins.

The pipefish is a fish.

Striped eeltail catfishes
also have eel-like tails.

The Black eeltail catfish
also has an eel-like tail.

Ribbon worms can be very long.
They usually stay on the ground
and don't swim about very fast.

Long black sea cucumbers
don't move very fast.

A sea whip is a colony of tiny animals that are usually anchored to the bottom, although the entire whip-like colony may sway in the currents.

how to tell apart
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