Sooty eel

Bascanichthys bascanium

Family Ophichthidae - eels, snake

Body elongate, snake-like; color brown on head and upper body, lower body light; body slender; head, mouth and teeth small, snout pointed, upper jaw extends past lower jaw; anterior nostrils in tubes under snout; posterior nostrils inside mouth on upper lip; no caudal fin, tail pointed and fleshy; dorsal fin starts anterior to gill slits and continues till near end of tail; anal fin present; gill slits on lower sides, almost ventral; no pelvic fins, pectoral fins tiny flaps, just behind gill slits (hard to see without magnification).
Similar Species
The sooty eel can be distinguished from other members of its family by its slender body, small head and mouth, its fleshy tail, no spotting or mottling, its brown head and upper back, its tubular anterior nostrils and the presence of pectoral fins (though tiny). The whip eel, B. scuticaris, is similar but has white spots above its lateral line and occurs in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf and bay, burrows in sand
Maximum Size
70 cm (28 in)
Fin Element Counts
unknown (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits