Encheliophis homei (Richardson, 1846)
Silver pearlfish
Encheliophis homei
photo by Tonozuka, T.

Family:  Carapidae (Pearlfishes), subfamily: Carapinae
Max. size:  19 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 0 - 30 m, non-migratory
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and the east coast of Africa (Ref. 583) to the Society Islands (Ref. 9710), as far north as Taiwan, but not Hawaii, and probably south to Tasmania.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal soft rays (total): 33-38; Anal soft rays: 53-61; Vertebrae: 116-128. Eel-like, moderate to shallow body depth; maxilla free and movable; cardiform teeth present; branchiostegal membranes partly or completely united; swim bladder with thin terminal membrane or bulb; lacking enlarged dentary or premaxillary fangs, dentary diastema, pelvic fins, and swim bladder rocker bone (Ref. 34024). Description: Characterized by translucent with silvery cheek and abdomen; length of pectoral fin 1.9-2.6 in head length; head depth greater than body depth, about 15 in TL; head length about 8.0 in TL; two rows of incurved teeth in jaws, largest are the inner row of upper jaw and outer row of lower jaw; vomer with 2-6 enlarged teeth in middle row on protruding vomer; 2-3 rows of teeth in palatines (Ref. 90102).
Biology:  This uncommon (Ref. 34024) pearlfish inhabits the coelom and respiratory trees of some holothurians, especially Stichopus chloronotus and Holothuria argus. It is apparently in competition with Jordanicus gracilis [= Encheliophis gracilis] for its preferred host H. argus. Although most occur singly, there is a tendency towards sexual pairing inside the host. Found to depths over 30 m (Ref. 9710). Stomach contents which include amphipod, shrimp and fish indicate non-parasitic, foraging habits (Ref. 6395). Leaves host at night to prey on small fishes and shrimps (Ref 90102).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 18.12.91
Modified by: Valdestamon, Roxanne Rei - 18.02.13
Checked by: Pauly, Daniel - 24.02.94

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