Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Ophichthidae
(Snake eels) > Ophichthinae
Etymology: Dalophis: Greek, dalos, ou = torch, burning piece of wood + Greek, ophis = serpent (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; demersal; pH range: 7.5 - 8.2; depth range - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Tropical; 23°C - 28°C (Ref. 13614); 21°N - 18°S, 18°W - 14°E
Eastern Atlantic: Mauritania to Angola.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 57.4 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3508); common length : 47.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4455)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 0. Caudal ends in a hardened point. Ogivale head, small eyes near buccal joint at end of snout. Buccal slit short, snout prominent covered with villi. Gill slits lateroventral, crescentiform. Thin dorsal and anal fins, in groove; dorsal origin behind gill slits (predorsal length 11.5-16.9% TL); anal origin immediately behind anus. Pores of lateral system and cephalic slightly rimmed. One median pore on the supraorbital joint; 57-64 pores on lateral line before the anus. Vertebrae: 149-162. Dark brown back and dorsal base, whitish belly.
Mainly nocturnal. During the day, this fish lies buried in the sediment with the head out.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Leiby, M., 1990. Ophichthidae. p. 176-192. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1. (Ref. 4455)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 21.4 - 28, mean 27.1 °C (based on 208 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5312 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00129 (0.00054 - 0.00308), b=2.92 (2.72 - 3.12), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.6 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (33 of 100) .