Shrimp eel

Ophichthus gomesii

Family Ophichthidae - eels, snake

Body elongate, snake-like; color brown to gray above, lighter below; snout slightly protruding; branchial region (ventral side, behind head) swollen, with basket-like structure of over-lapping free rays (jugostegalia) underneath the skin but often visible through the skin; tail fleshy, no caudal fin; anterior nostril tubular; posterior nostril on lip in front of eye; dorsal fin well-developed, originating just before tip of pectoral fin, extending almost to tail tip; anal fin originating just posterior to anus; pelvic fins absent; distance from anus to tip of tail longer than distance from tip of head to anus.
Similar Species
The shrimp eel is distinguished from other eel families by its lack of a caudal fin and the jugostegalia (basket-like structure in the throat region, which is not apparent externally); can be distinguished from other snake eels by its lack of markings, well-developed pectoral fin, and dorsal fin originating behind gill slit.
Gulf and bay, sandy or muddy bottoms
Maximum Size
91.4 cm (36 in), common to 50 cm (19 1/2 in)
Fin Element Counts
unknown (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits