Snapper eel

Echiophis punctifer

Family Ophichthidae - eels, snake

Body narrow, elongate, eel-like, cylindrical; color tan with small brown spots, spots larger in smaller eels, pepper-like in adults; snout narrow, V-shaped from above, but with rounded tip; skull flattened in large individuals; mouth large, upper jaw extends slightly past lower jaw; no barbels on lips; teeth canine-like (conical), in 1-2 rows; 2 rows teeth on vomerine (roof of mouth); eye small, anterior to middle of upper jaw, sometimes appears to lack eyes; pectoral fin present; dorsal fin starts well behind pectoral fin; tail fleshy, no rays; anterior nostril tubular; posterior nostril on upper lip.
Similar Species
This eel is distinguished by its spotted body, its V-shaped head, short snout (from anterior eye to tip of jaw), its fleshy tail, and the presence of a pectoral fin.
Gulf, sometimes in the bay, abundant off jetties in the fall
Maximum Size
180 cm (6 ft), common to 100 cm (3 1/5 ft)
Fin Element Counts
unknown (explain)
Other Common Names
stippled spoon-nose eel
Previous Scientific Names
E. mordax
State size/bag limits