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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Elopomorpha
Ordo: Anguilliformes
Subordo: Congroidei
Familia: Ophichthidae
Subfamiliae: Myrophinae - Ophichthinae - Incertae sedis


* Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2006. FishBase, version (02/2006). [1]

Vernacular names

Ophichthidae is a family of eels, comprising species commonly called worm eels and snake eels. The term "Ophichthidae" comes from Greek ophis ("serpent") and ichthys ("fish").

Ophichthids are found worldwide in tropical to warm temperate waters. They inhabit a wide range of habitats, from coastal shallows, and even rivers, to depths of above 750 metres (2,460 ft). Most species are bottom dwellers, hiding in mud or sand to capture their prey of crustaceans and small fish, but some are pelagic.[2]

Ophichthid species range from 10 centimetres (3.9 in) to 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length. Many species lack fins altogether, improving their ability to burrow into the substrate like worms. They are often spotted or striped in colour, mimicking the appearance of poisonous sea snakes to deter predators.[2]


The family Ophichthidae is the largest and most diverse of the families of eels, containing around 300 species in over 50 genera:

Family Ophichthidae

* Subfamily Myrophinae
o Ahlia
o Muraenichthys
o Myrophis
o Pseudomyrophis
o Schismorhynchus
o Schultzidia
o Scolecenchelys
+ Scolecenchelys breviceps – Long-finned worm eel, short-headed worm-eel
o Scythrenchelys
* Subfamily Ophichthinae
o Aplatophis
o Apterichtus
o Bascanichthys
o Brachysomophis
o Callechelys
o Caralophia
o Cirrhimuraena
o Cirricaecula
o Dalophis
o Echelus
o Echiophis
o Elapsopis
o Ethadophis
o Gordiichthys
o Herpetoichthys
o Ichthyapus
o Lamnostoma
o Leiuranus
o Leptenchelys
o Letharchus
o Leuropharus
o Myrichthys
o Mystriophis
o Ophichthus
o Ophisurus
+ Ophisurus serpens, Serpent eel
o Paraletharchus
o Phaenomonas
o Phyllophichthus
o Pisodonophis
o Quassiremus
o Scytalichthys
o Yirrkala


1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Ophichthidae" in FishBase. January 2009 version.
2. ^ a b McCosker, John F. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N.. ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.

* Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Ophichthidae" in FishBase. January 2006 version.

Biology Encyclopedia

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License