Ophichthidae - snake eels

Snake eels have long snake-like bodies. Most have tails that are bare and fleshy, lacking caudal fins, except worm eels whose caudal rays are continuous with dorsal and anal fins. Most other eel families have a continuous fin around the tail, similar to the worm eels. Another unique characteristic of this family is an area on the ventral side behind the head (branchial region) with overlapping, free, rib-like rays which form a basket-like structure (called the jugostegalia). Many snake eels bury themselves, tail-first, into the sediment in the daytime and abandon their burrows at night. If caught on hook and line, there is usually a tremendous struggle to get the eel to release itself from its burrow. If eaten whole by another fish, they have been known to try and burrow their way out of the predator's stomach. Many times they become trapped in the fish's body cavity and become mummy-like, hard and shriveled.