Worm-eel Muraenichthys sp.
Family Ophichthidae updated
learn only 3 things about it ...
Often mistaken for a worms, it is a fish!
It has a sharp bony tail to dig backwards with.
small burrowing fish is easily trampled. Watch your step!
This small worm-like fish is often seen near coral rubble where there
are lots of hiding places, especially on our Southern shores. A secretive
fish, it is usually active only at night. Sightings are usually brief
as it disappears quickly into some crevice or hiding place.
Features: To about 20cm long,
those seen were about 10-12cm. A worm-eel indeed resembles a worm,
with a long tubular body. It lacks scales and pectoral fins. It is
adapted for burrowing in sand. The eyes and mouth are small, the snout
is pointed and nostrils downward pointing. The tail tip is bony and
sharp so it can burrow quickly, both forwards and backwards! It swims
by moving the body in S-shapes, rather like a sea snake.
What do they eat? Most species
are burrowing, spending most of their time in the sand and among crevices
in coral rubble. They hunt small fishes and crustaceans by smell.
Status and threats: Worm-eels
are not listed as among the threatened animals of Singapore. However,
like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by
human activities such as reclamation and pollution.