Ophichthus ophis

Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Ophichthus ophis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Ophichthus ophis (Linnaeus, 1758) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body very elongate, snake-like, cylindrical anteriorly, interorbital region flat. Anterior nostril tubular, directed downward, inserted in a depression of upper lip, almost at snout extremity; posterior nostril an oval pore edged by a valvular fold, opening on upper lip at level of anterior border of eye, visible when mouth is closed. Snout subconical, slightly prominent; lips well developed. Teeth conical, acute, pyramidal, more or less curved, biserial in both jaws, uniserial or biserial on vomer; premaxillary teeth the largest. Gill openings lateral, subvertical. Dorsal and anal fins well developed (may fold into deep dermal groove), discontinuous posteriorly; caudal extremity stiff and finless; dorsal fin origin over middle to tip of pectoral fin, the latter well developed, with 12-13 rays. Lateral line with 58-62 preanal pores, 10 prepectoral; 1 supra- temporal pore. Vertebrae: total 161-170; abdominal 82-86. Colour: background pale yellow, orange dorsally, with brown patches of variable size dorsally and laterally, very few patches on belly, small on head and minute on snout; dorsal and anal fins light with brown patches forming discontinuous distal edge, pectoral fins light. Size: to 1 m.

Habitat: benthic on the shelf, burrowing in sand at 10-50 m. Food: fish and cephalopods. Reproduction: very few data; leptocephali with a long larval life.

Distribution: doubtful presence in the Clofnam area (Nice). Elsewhere, off coast of West Africa from Senegal to Angola and tropical western Atlantic; probably also northern parts of Indian Ocean.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Blache, 1977: 259 (leptocephali).
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.