Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Synbranchiformes
(Spiny eels) > Synbranchidae
Etymology: Ophisternon: Greek, ophis = serpent + Greek, sternon = chest (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal. Tropical; 17°N - 3°N
Africa: coastal river at Mansoa Point, Guinea Bissau (Ref. 57291, 116049). Also recorded from Niger delta, Nigeria (Ref. 57291).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 53.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 57291)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 0. Diagnosis: body naked, elongated, cylindrical in front and strongly compressed back; caudal part of body making less than one third of the total length and ending in a blunt point; no paired fins; dorsal and anal fins reduced to a skin fold, rayless, meeting the caudal fin; eyes small, overlaid with skin, situated at the head forward; mouth large with well developed lips; conical teeth to the jaws and the palate; gill opening reduced to a medio-ventral transversal slit; branchiostegal membrane free from isthmus; 4 branchial arches with well developed branchiae; lateral line present; vertebral count: 80 abdominal and 50 caudal (Ref. 57291).
Colouration: adults are dark-coloured, nearly black, juveniles are clearer (Ref. 57291).
The male guards and builds nest or burrow (Ref. 205).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Daget, J., 2003. Synbranchidae. p. 447-450 In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux douce et saumâtres de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, Tome 2. Coll. Faune et Flore tropicales 40. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique, Museum National d'Histoire Naturalle, Paris, France and Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France. 815 p. (Ref. 57291)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5156 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00085 (0.00040 - 0.00180), b=3.10 (2.91 - 3.29), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.2 ±0.3 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (46 of 100) .