> Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes
|Worm-eels and Snake-eels
learn only 3 things about them ...
| Often mistaken for snakes or worms, they are fish! They breathe
They have smooth skin instead of scales.
Most are burrowing and only active at night.
seen? These worm-like fishes are often seen near coral rubble where there
are lots of hiding places, especially on our Southern shores. Larger
snake eels sometimes also seen, especially at night.
What are worm eels? Worm-eels
and snake-eels belong to the Family Ophichthidae, which belongs to the Order Anguilliformes (True eels). According to FishBase:
the family has 52 genera and 250 species. They are found in tropical
to warm temperate seas.
Features: 20cm-2.5m long, these
fishes have a tubular body. They lack scales. Some species have pectoral
fins, others don't. The head and tail are pointed and they are adapted
for burrowing. They swim by moving the body in S-shapes, rather like
a sea snake. In fact, some day-hunting snake eels mimic sea snakes.
Sometimes mistaken for worms or sea snakes.
Here's more on how to tell
apart sea snakes, eels and eel-like animals.
What do they eat? Most species
are burrowing. They hunt fishes, octopus,
squids and cuttlefishes and crustaceans.
|Some Worm-eels and Snake-eels on Singapore shores
Ophichthidae recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
Ophichthidae awaiting identification
Muraenichthys macropterus=**Scolecenchelys macroptera
Ophichthus apicalis (Blunt-nose snake eel)
Ophichthus evermanni=**Ophichthus lithinus
(Evermann's snake eel)
Pisodonophis boro (Rice-paddy eel)
Pisodonophis cancrivorus (Burrowing snake-eel)