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Snipe Eels

Compiler and date details

26 February 2018 - John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese

John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese


Members of the Nemichthyidae were reviewed by Nielsen & Smith (1978) and Bertelsen et al. (1989) who recognised three genera and nine species worldwide. Five species in three genera are recorded from Australian waters. Nelson et al. (2016) placed the family in the Anguilloidei, rather than the Congroidei.

Snipe eels are largely mesopelagic, although specimens have been taken below 2000 m. Mature males lack the elongate, recurved jaws and small sharp teeth characteristic of juveniles and females. The dorsal fin originates before the anal fin and distinct lateral line pores are present. The maximum recorded length is 1.43 m.

Karmovskaya (1977) reviewed the species of Avocettina (as Borodinula) and Smith (1999) presented a key to genera from the Central Western Pacific region. Karmovskaya (1990) described the larvae of Nemichthys. Smith (2008) treated species found off the southern coast and Smith & Stewart (2015) treated most of the Australian species.


General References

Bertelsen, E., Nielsen, J.G. & Smith, D.G. 1989. Suborder Saccopharyngoidei. pp. 636-655 in Böhlke, E.B. (ed.). Orders Anguilliformes and Saccopharyngiformes. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1: 1-655

Karmovskaya, E.S. 1977. Studies on taxonomy and distribution of the genus Borodinula (Nemichthyidae, Osteichthyes) with description of a new species. Trudy Instituta Okeanologii. Akademiya Nauk SSSR. Moskva 109: 186-210 figs 1-8 [in Russian]

Karmovskaya, E. S. 1982. Systematics and some aspects of ecology of the family Nemichthyidae. Proceedings of the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology 118: 151-161 [In Russian, English summary]

Karmovskaya, E.S. 1990. Leptocephali of eels of the genus Nemichthys (Nemichthyidae, Osteichthys). Journal of Ichthyology 30(4): 28-42 [original in Voprosy ikhtiologii 30:(4): 551-563, in Russian]

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Nielsen, J.G. & Smith, D.G. 1978. The eel family Nemichthyidae (Pisces, Anguilliformes). Dana Reports 88: 1-71 figs 1-36 pls 1-2

Smith, D.G. 1999. Families Colocongridae, Derichthyidae, Muraenesocidae, Nemichtyhyidae, Congridae, Nettastomatidae, Serrivomeridae, Cyematidae, Saccopharyngidae, Eurypharyngidae, Monognathidae. pp. 1670-1697 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Smith, D.G. 2008. Family Nemichthyidae. pp. 170-173 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Smith, D.G. & Stewart, A.L. 2015. Families Derichthyidae, Nemichthyidae, Congridae, Nettastomatidae, Serrivomeridae. pp. 259-290 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
05-Mar-2019 ELOPOMORPHA 26-Feb-2018 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese (AM)
24-Sep-2011 ANGUILLIFORMES 24-Sep-2011 MOVED Dr Dianne Bray
12-Feb-2010 (import)